LCSO Watkins Nabs Bank Robers

Trio charged in bomb-threat heist of SunTrust Bank
By Don Jacobs, Matt Lakin,
Jason Levi McCurry
Jason Levi McCurry
Troy W. Davis
Troy W. Davis
James Rufus Bush
James Rufus Bush

Three men captured after a West Knox County bank robbery, which included a three-hour manhunt in Farragut subdivisions, have been charged in connection with the heist.

Troy W. Davis Sr., 32, Phillips Avenue, was identified as the man who entered the SunTrust Bank, 11441 Kingston Pike, during the 1:26 p.m. Wednesday robbery. Davis handed a teller a note claiming there was a bomb attached to the building and demanded cash.

Davis is charged with robbery and was being held today in jail in lieu of $50,000 bond, according to Knox County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Martha Dooley. Davis was the first man arrested by sheriff's deputies when they stopped the pickup truck used in the heist.

Dooley said Davis has a lengthy record extending 10 years and includes numerous failures to appear, felony drunken driving, aggravated robbery, violation of drivers license law, public intoxication, vehicular homicide, trespassing, and aggravated assault.

Two other men, James Rufus Bush, 39, of Bertrand Street, and Jason Levi McCurry, 26, of Gilbert Lane, fled from deputies when the truck was stopped on Watt Road. Police dogs located the two men hours later cowering under a resident's deck.

Bush and McCurry were charged with robbery, Dooley said. Bush was being held this morning in jail in lieu of $40,000, while McCurry was held on a $30,000 bond.

Bush also has a criminal record dating back to 1986, which consists mostly of drug charges, failures to appear and traffic offenses, Dooley said.

McCurry's record shows a theft charge in 1999 and a drunken driving offense in 2007, according to Dooley.

Patient police work, a sharp sense of smell and an open garage door helped nab all three suspects.

"It was a stroke of luck," Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said.

Knox County sheriff's deputies caught Davis, believed to be the getaway driver, minutes after the robbery. Police dogs from the Loudon County sniffed out the other two about three hours later as they hid under a deck in a Farragut subdivision, less than half a mile from the Loudon County line, authorities said.

"It was just good teamwork," said LCSO Deputy Michael Watkins, whose dog tracked down the second suspect.

Witnesses saw Davis leave the bank and jump into a red Mazda pickup with two other men. KCSO Deputy Matthew Lusk spotted the pickup on Watt Road near Harrison Road a few minutes later and pulled it over, authorities said.

Davis surrendered, and the other two jumped out and ran east toward the Sedgefield subdivision, said agent Mike MacLean of the FBI.

A three-hour manhunt followed as deputies and FBI agents searched from house to house, tracked the men with dogs and flew overhead in helicopters. Deputies from just across the road in Loudon County joined the search.

The sun had started to set around 4:45 p.m. when Watkins' dog, Denero, caught a scent on Ladyslipper Lane in the nearby Orchid Grove subdivision, Guider said.

"We were still here because of an open garage door," Guider said. "We were waiting on folks to get home. If that door hadn't been open, we might have already left the neighborhood."

The dog led Watkins to the back deck of a house at 13049 Ladyslipper Lane. A man lay crouched underneath, Watkins said.

"The dog started pulling," Watkins said. "We kept checking the back yard and finally ran across him."

On a second sweep, LCSO Deputy Chris Jenkins and his dog, Diego, found the third man hiding in a crawl space under the same deck, authorities said.

"He was dressed in black and at the very back," Watkins said. "We couldn't see him at first."

Both gave themselves up without a fight, authorities said.

A check under the deck found evidence from the robbery, said MacLean, the FBI agent. He wouldn't give specifics.

Officers didn't find a bomb or any weapons on the men, which could lead to state robbery charges rather than a federal prosecution, MacLean said.