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Charleston Police Arrest Suspected Bank Robber In McDonald's Attire

Reported: Feb. 5, 2014 9:12 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 6, 2014 9:32 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- A wild scene unfolded Wednesday morning on Charleston's West Side after a bank robbery, and a Charleston police officer crashed on the way to the scene.

"It's a very crazy morning, not what I expected when I came in at 9 o'clock," said Michael Farmer, who works at the Boys and Girls Club across the street from WesBanco on Tennessee Avenue.

"I heard all the sirens, and I thought it was a car accident or maybe something like that and I heard a loud boom and looked out my window and saw cop cars everywhere out in front of the bank," Farmer said.

Charleston police said Basil Smith, 37, of Charleston walked into WesBanco about 9 a.m. and gave the teller a note saying he had a gun and demanding money. Police said Smith took off, but they had a clear description of who they were looking for in connection with the robbery. 911 dispatchers advised police to be on the lookout for a tall, white man wearing a purple jacket and a McDonald's hat.

"The description was so accurate that they immediately suspected that was the robber," Lt. Steve Cooper said.

According to the criminal complaint, police found $3,823 on Smith when they spotted him walking around Monongalia Street, just five minutes after the robbery.

"Did you have a gun on you Mr. Smith?" Eyewitness News asked Smith as he was being taken to magistrate court. He shook his head no, but declined to answer other questions. Police wouldn't say if Smith was actually armed but did say no gun was shown during the robbery.

Farmer said the robbery "is a little bit disheartening, but I'm happy there was a fast response from the police."

A Charleston police cruiser collided with another car while responding to the scene, but no one was injured.

Smith said during his arraignment that he isn't employed right now, but his McDonald's attire may have been what led police to one of the fastest bank robbery arrests Charleston police can remember.

Magistrate Julie Yeager set Smith's bond at $50,000 cash.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Charleston police released the name and photo of a bank robbery suspect who they said was taken into custody shortly after the robbery.

Basil O. Smith, 37, of Charleston was in police custody, police said.

The robbery occurred about 9 a.m. Wednesday at WesBanco on Tennessee Avenue.

-- Charleston Police Department Photo





CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Charleston police have a suspect in custody in connection with a bank robbery on the West Side, Metro 911 said.

The robbery occurred about 9 a.m. at WesBanco on Tennessee Avenue.





CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Metro 911 said a bank robbery was reported on the West Side of Charleston.

The robbery at WesBanco on Tennessee Avenue occurred about 9 a.m., an emergency dispatcher said.

The suspect is described as a white male wearing a purple jacket and a hat.

Charleston police were at the scene.

Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.



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