Bank robber nabbed during cab ride to liquor store

Enterprise Staff Reports

LIVINGSTON — A local man is in custody after reportedly walking into First National Bank’s downtown location at 11:36 a.m. Monday and passing a note to a teller demanding money.

Thomas Stewart Holcomb, 34, of Livingston was being booked into the Polk County Jail at press time after attempting what was described as a unique getaway.

Matt parrish

“Bank employees did an outstanding job. They followed the protocol to a tee.”

Lt. Matt Parrish,
Livingston Police Department

Officers were gathering for a pre-holiday lunch meeting at the department and were able to respond quickly to the bank located less than 300 feet away from the police station.

The suspect fled on foot, with some witnesses reporting he headed west when he left the bank.

“We didn’t know if he had a vehicle nearby, so we also sent units to the other banks in the city,” Parish said.

Bank security cameras captured detailed photos of the suspect, and moments after LPD posted the photo online a jailer identified Holcomb, who has been booked into the Polk County Jail at least four times this year, jail records show.

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Bank surveillance photo / Courtesy Livingston Police Department

After leaving the bank, the suspect turned south into the shopping center located across the street from the bank.

Workers at a home health agency contacted police and said he had shed clothing in the parking lot.

As investigators collected evidence and spoke to witnesses there, they received additional information that he had been in the Subway Sandwich Shop on South Washington where he caught a cab.

Subway Sandwich artist Terri King said Holcomb ordered a dozen cookies and a Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich. Then he asked if there was a cab company nearby.

“We told him yes and our manager Googled their phone number,” King said. “About 5 minutes later he left.”

King said the man behaved pretty much like any other customer, but he did appear to be high.

“I checked the hundred dollar bill he paid with because we’ve been getting a lot of fake bills lately,” King said. “He was really nervous when I was looking closely at the bill.”

Sgt. Ronnie Bogany went to the Livingston 350 Cab company where he learned that the cab had been eastbound on U.S. Highway 190 to Indian Springs.

A cab company dispatcher contacted the driver and told him to remain on U.S. 190. By that time, cab driver Kevin Brown said he could see a patrol vehicle behind him. He followed directions from LPD not to pull over until the officers activated the red and blue lights.

By this time, Brown said they were headed back toward Livingston after his passenger had balked at the high prices at the liquor store they visited in the Midway community.

When the cab reached Tom Cummings Road, Bogany activated emergency lights and the driver stepped out of the cab.

Holcomb was taken into custody without incident and is being charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, according to a statement released by Det. Leon Middleton.

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Thomas Holcomb / Polk County Jail photo

An undisclosed amount of cash was recovered from the suspect when he was taken into custody. No weapon was located.

King said an investigator took video from their store security system as well as the $100 bill.

You can hear the cab driver’s description of his ride with the suspect on the Enterprise Facebook page at http://bit.ly/cashcab190.

 

Bank robbery- vehicle 11222018
Photo by Brian Besch / Enterprise
GETAWAY CAR – After robbing the First National Bank’s downtown branch Monday morning, the suspect is alleged to have fled on foot to the Subway Sandwich Shop on South Washington Street where he ordered lunch and caught a cab. After officers learned the suspect was in the cab, they intercepted it on U.S. 190 east of Livingston near Tom Cummings Road.
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