A Covington man was arrested Thursday morning and charged with robbing the United Bank inside of Wal-Mart 10 days ago.
Willard Anthony "Tony" Montgomery, age 52, was arrested at approximately 7 a.m. in a joint effort of the Covington Police Department, Newton County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol. Montgomery was reportedly pulled over at the intersection of Ga. Highway 162 and Ga. Highway 81 and arrested without incident.
The arrest stems from an incident on the afternoon of Nov. 9 when an older man wearing a disguise robbed the United Bank by allegedly informing a teller that the black plastic box he had placed on the counter was full of explosives.
The suspect discarded a wig, baseball cap, glasses, dust mask and a walking cane just outside of Wal-Mart. He also left behind the black plastic box, causing the store to be evacuated and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Bomb Squad to be called in as a precaution. The building was shut down for roughly two hours and treated as a crime scene.
Several pieces of evidence were collected, according to Fowler, and the GBI Crime Lab was able to identify Montgomery through this evidence.
"We really appreciate the cooperation from the GBI," said Lt. Paul Dailey. "Very rarely do we get results from evidence this quickly but they were able to put it on a fast track."
Montgomery has been charged with armed robbery and presenting a hoax device in the commission of a crime. Detectives believe he acted alone and no charged are pending against members of Montgomery’s family, according to Fowler.
The 52-year-old has had run-ins with the law prior to the robbery but the charges were all misdemeanors and he has not been charged with a crime since the 80s. Fowler said that Montgomery’s prints were available from charges against him previously. He was charged the 70s in Georgia. The charges from the 1980s were from North Carolina, though detectives declined to specify just what Montgomery was arrested for.
As for motive, Fowler said it was simple desperation.
"He worked in construction and he hasn’t had any business. His motive was desperation."