JONESBORO — The attorney for a man who allegedly drove the getaway car during a recent bank robbery said his client is innocent and knows nothing about the Bank of America robbery.
Renard Dijon Stafford was arrested by Morrow Police on Oct. 4, with the assistance of the Georgia State Patrol, said Morrow Police Capt. James P. Callaway.
Stafford, 23, of Riverdale, waived his preliminary hearing before Clayton County Magistrate Court Chief Judge Daphne Walker on Thursday.
Police said Stafford was the getaway driver during the bank robbery, which occurred Oct. 2, at 3:40 p.m., at the Bank of America located at 1200 Mt. Zion Road in Morrow.
Stafford is charged with armed robbery party to a crime.
Stafford’s defense attorney, Skyler Taylor, asked the judge to reduce his client’s bond from $40,000 to $25,000. Walker agreed.
“He gave a man a ride to the bank without knowing this man had allegedly robbed the bank,” Taylor said. “Quite literally, Renard just drove him to the bank. There was some gas money involved. I believe it was around $20. Renard knew nothing about what this other man allegedly did inside the bank.”
Callaway said Morrow police were working leads to locate a bank robbery suspect named “Eddie.”
“We should have him identified very soon,” Callaway said. “We are about 99-percent convinced of his identity. We will be seeking an arrest warrant for him to bring him to justice for this crime.”
Stafford was apprehended during a routine traffic stop.
“[Stafford] was stopped by the Georgia State Patrol for an expired tag,” Callaway said. “We already had him under surveillance, we knew his tag had expired. We have video of his car pulling up to the side of bank, and the bank robber getting out of the car.”
Police said the video also shows the getaway car leaving the parking lot.
There were no injuries reported during the robbery.
Police said the bank robber walked into the Southlake branch of Bank of America and demanded cash. Police expect to arrest the suspected bank robber soon.
“We are prepared to move forward,” Callaway said. “We are working with the district attorney’s office to bring this case before the court.”
According to a warrant application affidavit, police reviewed the surveillance video from the bank as well as a Chevron gas station.
“One suspect went into the bank and the other waited at the adjacent gas station in the car,” said Morrow Police Detective P. Brooks in the affidavit. “You then see one suspect run and jump into the above described car and drive away from the robbery location toward Tara Boulevard.
Stafford told police that he did in fact drive to the bank, but he did not go inside the bank. He went on to say that he did not know that his friend robbed the bank. Detectives questioned Stafford why he parked away from the bank and why did his friend run from the bank and jump into his car, and why he left the area of the robbery at a high rate of speed.
Stafford told police his friend “E” owed him $20 for marijuana, that he picked up “E” and took him to the bank and then “E” paid him $20.
Stafford told police he dropped “E” off at a hotel on Tara Boulevard and said on numerous times that he did not know that “E” was robbing a bank.
Detective Brown said during the interview Stafford’s cell phone kept going off with calls from “E.”
“It is clear that there is a greater connection between Stafford and ‘E,’ ” Brown said. “Stafford refused to identify who ‘E’ is or where he lives.”