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Bank robbery suspect caught along Ga. 400

Truck ran out of gas while en route home

POSTED: April 16, 2014 7:59 a.m.
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Plunkett

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FORSYTH COUNTY -- The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Texas man believed to have robbed the Chase bank on Buford Highway from a drive-through lane a week ago.

In addition to the local robbery, investigators say that 39-year-old Stephen "Chris" Plunkett of Dallas is the likely suspect in several attempted armed robberies in nearby Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, as well as many similar crimes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

"It was good police work in Forsyth County," said Sheriff's Maj. Rick Doyle. "Those [other] jurisdictions don't necessarily have the resources to focus on somebody like this. We have the resources and we were able to dedicate a lot of [them] … to really work this case."

According to Doyle, Plunkett was taken to the sheriff’s office’s south precinct for questioning late Tuesday night, shortly after he was caught on the side of Ga. 400 near McFarland Parkway in south Forsyth.

Doyle said the brand-new black Chevrolet Silverado truck that Plunkett was driving had run out of gas for a second time on the highway as he traveled north to the home he was renting with his girlfriend off Lanier Beach South Road near Lake Lanier in east Forsyth.

Doyle said sheriff’s detectives arrived at the home earlier in the evening to find only his girlfriend, whose name has not been released.

Plunkett called her while detectives were in the home to tell her he was on his way home, but was out of gas — again.

Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said the girlfriend is not a suspect in any of the crimes.

“We believe she had no knowledge of what he was doing,” Rainwater said.

According to Doyle, Plunkett will face a variety of charges, including armed robbery and aggravated assault, among others. He is being held without bond at the Forsyth County Detention Center.

Doyle said there is enough evidence, including fingerprints, found at the Chase bank to link Plunkett to the Forsyth robbery even if he doesn't confess.

However, he added that it is “probably going to take several weeks of investigating to [tie] him” to other incidents, including three successful robberies and one failed attempt in Texas, as well as the three others in Georgia, all of which were unsuccessful.

"We're working with the FBI on identifying any other similar armed robberies between here and there," Doyle said.

Plunkett also is wanted in Texas for violating his probation from a previous conviction for driving under the influence.

The Forsyth robbery occurred about 11:30 a.m. April 9 at the Chase bank on Buford Highway (Hwy. 20) and Trammel Road.

That’s not far from the house Plunkett was renting. Lanier Beach South becomes Samples Road where it crosses Buford Dam Road and then turns into Trammel at Buford Highway.

From a black Hyundai Genesis on April 9, Plunkett reportedly passed the bank teller a note demanding money. Attached to the note was what appeared to be some type of bomb. 

Though the device was later determined not to be an explosive, it was realistic enough that the teller sent an undisclosed amount of money back to Plunkett, who then drove away.

A bomb squad unit from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation disposed of the device later that day.

The unit was summoned Tuesday night to Ga. 400 after authorities apprehended Plunkett. According to Rainwater, X-rays they took of a package found in the truck revealed that it was not a bomb.

Doyle said the four-door 2012 or ’13 Hyundai used in the Forsyth robbery, which was caught on surveillance camera footage, turned out to be a rental from Texas that Plunkett never returned.

“The rental car company reported it stolen,” Doyle said.

 

Check back for updates at forsythnews.com.

 

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