By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Police responded to a robbery in progress call Nov. 2 after a worried mom called 911 and reported that the Mechanics Bank was being held up.
In turned out that she was right about the robbery, she just had the wrong town.
The Mechanics Bank branch at 1508 E. University Ave. in Oxford was robbed by a black male wearing a ski mask, according to Oxford Police. The incident occurred at 11:37 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Mechanics Bank President Cam Tyler reported there was evidently an employee was on the telephone with a family member when the robber entered the bank. But, they apparently didn’t know at which branch the employee was working.
“That family member knew something was happening and called 911,” Tyler said.
Captain Sherman Gooch, who was working the Water Valley fire and police dispatch desk, took the call. Gooch immediately dispatched police to South Main Street, which is standard procedure. Yalobusha Sheriffs Department deputies also heard the call and were taking positions at key road intersections so they could intercept anyone fleeing the robbery.
When it was determined that the robbery was actually in Oxford, police and deputies were called off. One officer continued to the South Main Street Mechanics branch to make sure nothing was happening there.
At the same time in Oxford, police were arriving at the bank branch there. They had been alerted directly through the bank’s alarm system.
Inside the bank, employees were handling the robbery just as they had been trained, according to Tyler. “They were very calm and had the other employees and customers safety in the forefront.”
They got the robber out of the bank as quickly as possible and notified authorities, he added. “The number one thing was safety.”
Oxford Police reported that the suspect then fled on foot behind the bank area and left in a vehicle.
Officers found a gun, money, and other evidence that was covered in red paint from the dye pack that discharged near where the suspect vehicle was parked, the OPD reported. The suspect vehicle was described as being an older model vehicle light tan in color or light yellow. Possibly a GM or Ford product.
Tyler said that even though the robbery didn’t happen in Water Valley, he was pleased with the way Water Valley Police responded.
The holdup was a first for the Mechanics Bank. Although an incident that occurred almost 75 years ago could be considered an attempted robbery. On June 24, 1936 a trio of desperadoes held then President Eddie Blackmur for several hours in an attempt to force him to open the bank’s safe.
Blackmur convinced the men that it would be impossible for him to open the vault since it was secured with a time lock.
No arrests have been made in the latest robbery attempt.
Lt. Rick McCuan reported the following additional law enforcement activity within the Water Valley City limits during the past two week period:
• Arrested Johnny Fuller, 21, of Water Valley on a felony charge of child abuse for an incident reported on Nov. 6. According to McCuan, Department of Human Services officials took the children involved in the alleged abuse to the hospital on that date.
• Made four arrests for driving under suspension;
• Made two arrests for possession of a controlled substance;
• Made two arrests for public drunk;
• Made an arrest for possession of marijuana;
• Made an arrest for simple assault
• Took two accident reports;
• Took a report of simple assault;
• Took a report of embezzlement;
• Issued 42 traffic citations.