By TOMI L. WILEYSpecial To The Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- A Wilson County man who is a suspect in a rash of local bank and business robberies was captured this past week when a dye bomb exploded after he allegedly robbed yet another bank in Hermitage, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
Fred Bates was formally charged with armed bank robbery after he was arrested on Feb. 17 as he tried to run from the Wachovia Bank on Lebanon Road in Hermitage, said Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Brett Shields.
Bates is also the suspect in a string of bank robberies in Wilson County and Nashville since September, including two Wilson Bank & Trust branches, a Mt. Juliet SunTrust bank, Wachovia and other area businesses.
“He is the suspect in multiple bank robberies,” Shields said Tuesday, “but as part of the criminal prosecution process I cannot reveal all the banks and businesses. He has not yet been fully indicted.”
Bates reportedly was a customer at a Mt. Juliet Wilson Bank & Trust which he recently robbed, according to a source inside the bank. He usually utilized the drive-through at the bank, and his voice was recognizable when he wielded his weapon and demanded money from bank tellers.
Bates allegedly robbed the Mt Juliet SunTrust bank at 15375 Lebanon Road on Dec. 19, 2008. Mt. Juliet Police officers responded to the call but turned the case over to FBI officials since a financial institution was involved.
Shields said in January that Bates was a suspect in the armed robbery of the Little Caesars Pizza in Shiloh Plaza in Mt. Juliet and “several other” bank robberies in Davidson County. Shields would not divulge the amount of money stolen or whether Bates’ weapon was loaded.
Shields said Tuesday that Bates, who was reportedly an employee at TRW in Lebanon, remains in custody in Davidson County. No court date has been set since Bates has not “been fully indicted” by a Federal grand jury.
Editor’s Note: Tomi L. Wiley is the editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet.