Bank Robbery Suspect Quickly Caught

Police Use New Strategy To Find Man In Minutes

Posted: August 13, 2014

HARRISONBURG — Page County police nabbed a man wanted for a bank robbery Tuesday within 16 minutes of the crime, a quick capture in large part because the county’s last heist suspect got away.

William Lee Arnette, 60, of Culpeper, was arrested and charged with armed bank robbery of the Pioneer Bank branch on Third Street in Shenandoah. He is accused of robbing the bank at 11:17 a.m. Tuesday, indicating to a teller that he was armed, Sheriff John Thomas said.

Thomas would not say how Arnette notified the teller or what he reported to have as a weapon.

At 11:33 a.m., authorities apprehended their suspect after a Stanley police officer saw him driving south on River Road in the county. Evidence tying the driver to the robbery was recovered from the vehicle, including an undisclosed amount of cash taken from the bank, Thomas said.

The FBI has joined the investigation into the robbery and any possible links to other crimes, including bank robberies, by Arnette, Thomas said.

Arnette is being held without bond at Page County Jail.

The man’s arrest was the result of a new strategy by county and town police. In April, a man handed a teller at the Luray Pioneer Bank branch a note demanding money. He claimed to be armed, but no weapon was presented, Thomas has said.

The suspect fled on foot. Police have been looking for a white male between the ages of 50 and 65 with short brown hair and brown facial hair.

Thomas said police implemented a new strategy after the Luray robbery, setting up at all major roadways in cases where a suspect may be fleeing a scene. Officers did so Tuesday.

“He was bound to pass somebody,” Thomas said of Arnette.

Anyone with information about the suspect in the Luray robbery is asked to call the Page County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation division at 540-743-657. The FBI is also involved in that investigation.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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