911 callers help nab robbery suspects

July 10, 2009 9:34:59 PM PDT
Four accused bank robbers sit behind bars in Bt. Bend County. Police say quick-thinking eyewitnesses helped put them there. [HEAR IT: Hear more of the 911 tape from Friday's bank robbery]

Between a dye pack going off and citizens calling in the suspects every move, those suspects' getaway lasted less than 20 minutes.

Two minutes before noon Friday, the Wachovia Bank in the 10,000 block of Highway 6 in Missouri City was robbed by two gunmen. With bags of cash, they ran out to a driver in a Dodge on standby. But before they could even get out of the parking lot, their getaway has them seeing red.

"It was pretty obvious to everyone in the parking lot what was going on," said Captain John Bailey with the Missouri City Police Department. "The dye pack going off, all on the ground, rubbing their eyes, trying to run away, dropping money."

Eyewitnesses rose to the occasion by calling in a play by play to 911 dispatchers, giving officers real time intelligence.

911 Operator: "Did you see them run towards that bank?"
Caller: "No, they are in a white Dodge Neon, a white Dodge Neon."
911 Operator: "OK, sir."

And as the suspects changed locations, callers kept police on their tail.

Caller: "They are right here behind the Kroger in the woods, right here."
911 Operator "Behind the Krogers in the woods?"
Caller: "Yes, yes they, we are sitting here watching them, but we are scared because they have guns."

"As this scene progresses from one section of the parking lot to another to another, we are getting different phone calls, people were seeing different things, but our dispatch center knew what was going on and they were able to piece it all together," said Captain Bailey.

About 15 eyewitnesses called in. In fact, they were so good that after the first 911 call came in at 11:58am, the four suspects were handcuffed by 12:15pm.

"If it wasn't for that cell phone, that real time technology to get us that information, we might not have caught these people," said Captain Bailey.

Police recovered most of the money. As for the suspects, they've been identified as Jeremy Lincoln, 19, John Craven, 19, Christopher Brown, 18, and Kendrick Brown, 18. They're also being interviewed by FBI to see if they are responsible for any other bank robberies

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