A brazen robbery
happened late this morning at Regions Bank on Ringgold Road in East
Ridge, but the bank itself was not actually robbed.
Instead, it was a customer on his way into the bank, robbed by force and with an unconventional weapon.
owner Mike Ford was walking in the side door with his money bag in
hand, with lots of money in it. That's when a crossover SUV rolled
forward, a man jumped out, attacked Ford and maced him. Police believe
the criminal used some form of pepper spray.
Ford described the
attack, "He sped up to right straight across from the door and the door
flung open and this guy coming running out."
He suffered immense
pain and considerable monetary loss. An hour after the attack, Ford's
face chest and eyes were blood red -- for a reason.
for my arm and my money bag and when I didn't turn loose of it, that's
when he started spraying me. And the more he sprayed of course
eventually I had to turn loose."
Sharon Payne saw the attack
happen from inside the bank. "I seen some chemicals flying everywhere so
I was worried for the man that he was attacking so I went to the door
and I grabbed him by the jacket collar to try to drag him in the door,"
After the attack, the irritant seeped into the bank.
Employees and customers covered their faces, coughed and had irritated eyes.
During the attack, Ford put up a fight for the cash inside his money bag, approximately $3,000.
and his wife own Hickory Pit Barbecue on Ringgold Road in East
Ridge.They've been in business for 29 years, working hard every day to
make a living. With emotion in his voice, Ford noted, "It's just rough
when you work 12 and 14 hours a day and they take enough money from you
in one minute that you work a month for."
His wife thinks he may
have been targeted. Betty Ford said, "You know that entered my mind that
someone had been staking him out or watching him come and go from the
bank because he does this every day, it's a routine for him."
A routine he's now thinking of changing. "Probably just go out and get my permit to carry."
Ford got a decent look at the man who attacked him and there were two other men in the getaway car.
The attacker is a thin black man wearing dark clothing and a black and red cap.
Witnesses saw another thin black man with dreadlocks in the car.
The third man is described as a heavy set black man with a shaved head, beard and wearing a blue and white shirt.
They were last seen driving a white Subaru Outback or similar car.
It has gold trim and a storage rack on the roof. The East Ridge police department is seeking any information you may have.by John Madewell