Witness ruins robbery attempt

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 21, 2002

Two men are being held without bond in Western Tidewater Regional Jail after being arrested early Friday in connection with a foiled bank robbery attempt.

Eric Markell Williams, 29, and Darrin Cooper, 20, both of Newport News, were picked up early Thursday afternoon after authorities pulled their car on Route 58 East, said Officer Michael E. Simpkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Police Department. A woman in the car was arrested but later released.

A witness, who saw the two men practice pulling their shirts up over their faces and approaching the bank’s front door, tipped off police to the possible bank robbery, Simpkins said.

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When the suspects realized the witness had spotted them, they left the Holland community.

The witness then followed the suspects until Officer N.M. Boone pulled their 1995 Nissan in front of Johnson’s Florist.

Boone discovered that both men had suspended operator’s licenses and while searching their car, he found two red bandanas, rubber gloves and a replica 9mm handgun, Simpkins said,

Both Williams and Cooper have been charged with attempted bank robbery, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Other charges may follow.

The witness played an instrumental role in thwarting the robbery attempt, Simpkins said.

&uot;The citizen being willing to get involved is what foiled the robbery attempt and possibly prevented someone from being injured,&uot; he said.