By Michael Davis
A teenager suspected in a Morrow bank robbery pleaded not guilty Friday, police said. But authorities believe he, and several apparent associates, may also be behind a number of other area robberies.
Despite having given police a written confession in the Morrow robbery, the 16-year-old male pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery and gang participation in Clayton County Juvenile Court, Morrow Police Detective Brian Hill said.
Hill said the teen, who was initially taken into custody on a probation-violation charge related to a previous attempted armed robbery, walked into the RBC Centura Bank on Southlake Parkway in Morrow, with a female on Nov. 2, at around 4:15 p.m.
He said the pair asked about opening up accounts at the bank before leaving. "They inquired about opening up accounts and that was, I guess, a ploy to distract the tellers," he said.
Hill said the teen came back later, and handed a teller a note demanding money and indicating he was armed. No weapon was actually presented, Hill said.
The female, Crystal Bishop, 27, is also facing charges -- along with her husband, James Hector, 26, and her husband's cousin, Terrance Hector, 26 -- in a Riverdale bank robbery. Hill said Crystal Bishop is charged in Morrow as a party to the crime of robbery in connection with the RBC robbery there.
Charges against Bishop, her husband and her husband's cousin, who are suspected of robbing a Bank of North Georgia branch on Ga. Highway 85 on Dec. 7, were bound over to Superior Court Tuesday.
A separate robbery charge against James Hector, in connection with the robbery of a SunTrust bank in Forest Park on Oct. 19, was also bound over on Tuesday.
The teen, who authorities say is being held in a Clayton County youth detention facility, is also suspected in a separate robbery of the same SunTrust bank in Forest Park that James Hector is accused of robbing earlier.
Forest Park Police said Friday that the Oct. 26 SunTrust robbery allegedly involved the 16-year-old, and Keiran Pippins, 19, who is facing federal charges in St. Louis, Mo., for a bank robbery there.
Marietta Police say the 16-year-old also, allegedly, robbed a bank in Marietta. On Wednesday, Marietta Police said they have charged him in a Nov. 13 robbery of the BB&T branch on Whitlock Avenue.
Police said the teen walked into the bank at around 11:10 a.m., and presented a note to a teller demanding money. Marietta police said no weapon was seen by either the teller, or witnesses.