Bank robbery suspect taken down

Mary E. Hinds News Herald


Adams was arrested without incident. courtesy: Lenoir City Police DepartmentJoe D. Adams, 31, of Greenback, is in custody and charged with the attempted robbery of the BB&T Bank located at 391 Highway 321 in Lenoir City Friday morning.

According to law enforcement officials, the Loudon County Sheriff's Department received a tip Thursday night from a "concerned citizen" that a possible bank robbery was set to occur the next morning. Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said the sheriff's department contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his department, after which the LCPD, the sheriff's department and the FBI set up in the bank's parking lot Friday morning to wait for the suspect. 

FBI Agent Michael MacLean said officers set up a "static surveillance" around the bank and rolling surveillance at other potential targets in case there was an attempt at a different bank.

MacLean said the suspect stuck with his plan and was observed by officers in the bank's parking lot wearing a mask, gloves and carrying a gun in his right hand. That's when the officers moved in and Adams was arrested "without incident" outside the BB&T Bank. Members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force (SSFT), the Lenoir City Police Department and the Loudon County Sheriff's Department took part in the arrest. Adams is now facing federal charges of bank robbery.  

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said his department took the tip seriously and once the suspect exited his car with a firearm and a mask it was obvious the tip had been correct. Guider added he was grateful law enforcement was able to bring Adams down so quickly Friday morning and that no one was harmed.  

MacLean said law enforcement officials later found a getaway car which had been reported stolen in Blount County on Wednesday for this event and Adams' plan was apparently to switch cars after the robbery. He also said bank personnel were informed about the potential threat in advance and that it is protocol to alert potential victims in such a situation. Guider said the getaway car contained a cooler of water to deal with any dye packs in the stolen money and the back seat was full of cans of gas to allegedly "burn the vehicle at a later time."

When asked how Adams reacted to having his robbery attempt thwarted before he even made it into the bank, MacLean said he "appeared very surprised to see us." He added that timing was everything in the apprehension of Adams. "You want him out of the car and not in the bank," he explained. 

Officials said Adams has a criminal record that includes car jacking and strong armed robbery in Florida, but this was his first attempt at bank robbery to their knowledge. White said he believed Adams had been living in Loudon County for less than a year and he didn't know why he moved here from Florida. White cited the cooperation between law enforcement agencies as being instrumental in apprehending Adams before anyone was hurt. "It could have saved lives, it was a very serious situation," he said.