03/01/2006

Two Texas men jailed after bank heist, chase

By ALEX BRANCH   
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

FORT WORTH -- Two men arrested Tuesday after a bank heist may be responsible for three recent bank robberies, including two at the Bank of America downtown.

Tom Johnson, 23, and Ricky Brown, 39, were jailed on suspicion of bank robbery and outstanding parole violations, said Lt. Dean Sullivan, a police spokesman.

The most recent robbery occurred about 11 a.m. Tuesday. An employee of the Bank of America at 500 W. Seventh St., became suspicious of two men in a car outside the lobby doors, police said. The employee wrote down the car's license plate number and called police.

Before officers arrived, one of the men entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money, police said. The robber was given an undisclosed amount of money.

Police broadcast a bulletin about the car, and an officer quickly spotted it traveling southbound on Interstate 35W, about six miles from the bank, police said. After a short "slow-speed" pursuit, the car stopped in the 1100 block of East Seminary Drive. Two men got out and ran, officers said.

Brown was arrested after he ran into the side of a passing car while dodging traffic on East Seminary Drive, Sullivan said. The car was an unmarked police car driven by an officer whose police radio was tuned to a different frequency.

He was unaware of the pursuit, Sullivan said.

The other man ran into the Fair Park Apartments, Sullivan said. As officers surrounded the apartments, Carter Park Elementary School was locked down briefly. At 6:30 p.m., police officers and FBI agents searched the apartments. They found and arrested Johnson, Sullivan said.

Brown and Johnson were on their way to Mansfield Jail Tuesday night, Sullivan said. Bail had not yet been set.

The two men are also suspects in the Feb. 8 robbery at that Bank of America as well as the Feb. 10 robbery of Summit Bank at 3000 Alta Mesa Blvd., Sullivan said.

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this story.

 Fort Worth Star Telegram (http://www.star-telegram.com/)
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