Half of the bank robberies in Franklin in the past four years happened in the past two weeks.
On Saturday, August 12, the Sun Trust Bank at 1109 Murfreesboro Road was robbed with a note.
Then just three days later, on Tuesday the 15th, the Franklin Synergy Bank at 40 Moss Lane in Berry Farms was robbed, also by a suspect using a robbery demand note.
Both suspects remain at large, with the FBI pitching in to assist in the investigation.
Perhaps even odder than two rare crimes occurring back-to-back is the fact that the only two previous bank robberies since 2014 happened at these same two banks.
The most recent bank robbery in Franklin before August came in early December 2016, at the 40 Moss Lane Synergy Bank.
The most recent before that? Less than a year before on December 30, 2015 at Sun Trust on Murfreesboro Road. There were no bank robberies in 2014. Police would not say how much was taken in any of the robberies, but according to FBI statistics the average nationwide take is about $4,000.
It might seem odd, but Franklin Police say both the quick interlude between the two recent robberies and that both crimes struck at previously robbed banks is a coincidence.
Moreover, none of the robberies are believed to be connected, according to the FPD.
“While they are infrequent in Franklin, bank robberies can and do happen anywhere,” Lt. Charles Warner, FPD’s Public Information Officer, said.
Fortunately, most bank robberies that occur in Franklin are non-violent.
“The majority of bank robberies that happen in Franklin are what we call ‘note jobs,’ where the suspect enters and quietly slips the teller a note announcing the robbery and detailing his demands,” Warner said.
However, the December 2015 Sun Trust bank robbery was not a “note job.” A suspect walked into the bank wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun. It ended without violence, and with the suspect eventually being arrested. A Crime Stoppers tip led to the arrest of Mark Smith in September 2016. The other three robberies remain open investigations without arrests.
In addition to the four robberies that were carried out, an attempted robbery took place on June 18, 2015 at Fifth Third Bank at 2040 Fieldstone Parkway. An employee noticed a man carrying a backpack coming toward the door, pulling a bandana over his face, and locked the door. The man was quickly arrested.
Also, in the area, the other most recent bank robbery came in Spring Hill on November 5, 2015, at First Farmers and Merchants Bank at 5398 Main Street.
High Risk, High Reward Crime
There were 4,185 bank robberies last year, including armored car robberies, and more happened in the south than any other region of the country (1,292), according to FBI. Broken down by state, 51 occurred in Tennessee, compared to 462 in California, 371 in New York; or 103 in Georgia, 83 in Virginia, 15 in Mississippi, and 41 in Kentucky.
The most common method involved threatening the use of a weapon (in 2,361 cases), but this includes cases when a weapon was not actually brandished. Nearly as many involved a note (2,267). The total is more than the number of crimes because some involved both.
The average amount bank robbers gets away with roughly $4,000, according to FBI statistics. But few got the time to enjoy it.
Bank robbery comes with a higher arrest rate than most other crimes. That is because most attempts occur during the day, in front of multiple witnesses, under video surveillance, and get reported almost immediately, according to the Center for Problem Oriented Policing.
FBI statistics show a nearly 60 percent arrest rate, higher than other robberies.
At any given time, hundreds of bank robbers whose identities are unknown are sought by the FBI and its law enforcement partners around the country. To support the continuing efforts of investigators, the FBI launched its Wanted Bank Robbers website in December 2012 to enlist the public’s assistance in helping to identify and track down suspects.
The website is national in scope, and it enables the public and investigators to draw possible connections between robberies across different cities and states. The site features a search tool to find and group robbers by location, a national map that plots robbery locations, a chronological list of robberies, electronic wanted posters with details on each robber and crime, and a printable version of each poster containing information on how to contact authorities.
For more information, visit the Wanted Bank Robbers website.