Bystanders, license plate reader help catch serial bank robber, police say
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - Police said a serial bank robber was arrested in western North Carolina on Thursday after they received an alert from a recently-installed license plate reader.
Kelvin Wayne Simmons, 53, had outstanding warrants for multiple bank robberies across North Carolina. Since May 25, he is believed to have robbed banks in Hendersonville, Salisbury, Belmont, Statesville, and Mooresville, investigators said.
Police said before he would rob banks, he would call dispatchers and falsely report that shots had been fired.
Buncombe County dispatchers said they received an unfounded shots-fired call at the same time Simmons’ vehicle was spotted in Black Mountain, leading investigators to believe he was preparing to rob a nearby bank.
When a traffic stop was initiated, police said Simmons had two passengers in the car who he released. Simmons, however, did not comply with the traffic stop and is accused of leading officers on a high-speed chance on I-40, reaching speeds over 115 miles per hour. During the chase, officials said Simmons drove the wrong way on I-26 and hit several vehicles.
After the crash, he tried to carjack another driver that had stopped, according to police, but bystanders were able to wrestle Simmons to the ground until Black Mountain police arrived.
Simmons is charged with numerous warrants including robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, fleeing to elude arrest, and attempted common law robbery.
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