At 11:18 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13, an attempted robbery took place at the Wells Fargo Bank on 107 south in Cashiers.
A masked Hispanic speaking male, who spoke broken English, initiated an attempted bank robbery after he gave the teller a bag and said, “Put the money in the bag.”
Instead, the bank teller activated the burglar alarm at which point the man fled on foot without any money.
According to Jackson County Sheriff Doug Farmer, based on the photos taken from the bank video, he may have been wearing a detonator device on his chest.
“You can see something metallic on his chest and a cord in his hand,” said Farmer.
He was last seen fleeing by foot into a nearby wooden area which was searched by multiple officers and canine who was able to pick up a scent trail outside the bank.
It is said he wore a grey hoodie, and grey and blue or dark clothing.
Pictured at the top of the article is the robbery suspect. If anyone recognizes this man, please contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s office at 828.586.8901 or the Highlands Police Department at 828.526.9431.
Though in the next town over, the Highlands Police Department notified businesses in Highlands – retail shops, restaurants and banks — and conducted perimeter patrols throughout the business district and at the local banks.
Chief Andrea Holland asked citizens to be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior.
She also told Highlands School to lockdown. Until school got out, four officers walked the perimeter and when school got out, they followed students headed to town on foot and continued to patrol.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office notified the schools in Cashiers and suggested a lockdown, too.
Students at Summit Charter and Blue Ridge School were required to stay in their locked classrooms, to not go outside nor to transition to classes until further notice.
While some deputies tracked in the woods, multiple deputies stayed at the bank to process the scene.
As of press time Wednesday, Sheriff Farmer said there are no more details at this time.
“Detectives are still working diligently on the case which is active and ongoing,” he said.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Highlands Police Department said if anyone knows the man or has information about the case to call them at 828-586-4355 or (828) 526-9431, respectively.
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper