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Covington man charged in Alabama bank robbery
Nature of co-conspirators' arrests at fast-food restaurant sparks brief controversy
Regions Bank in Albertville Alabama
A Covington man attempted to cash a counterfeit check, then forcibly took cash from a teller at Regions Bank in Albertville, Alabama, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. He, two co-conspirators, and an Englewood man were arrested shortly after. (Photo by The Sand Mountain Reporter)

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — Three Georgia men, including a Covington native, were arrested Thursday, Feb. 18, after allegedly robbing a bank.

Nekyle Andreas Chaney, 45, of Covington; Theodore David Kemp, 46, of Decatur; and Ronnie Lee Jones, 31, of Atlanta; were apprehended by police following a robbery at Regions Bank in Albertville, Alabama, according to Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith. 

“This was a great effort on the part of Law Enforcement,” Smith told The Sand Mountain Reporter, a local newspaper.  “I can’t brag on the Albertville and Boaz Police Departments enough. Job well done by officers from both agencies."

Chaney reportedly was the only one to enter the bank. Smith told reporters Chaney attempted to cash a counterfeit check before forcibly taking cash from the nearest teller drawer and fleeing.

The police chief said a customer saw what happened and chased Chaney into a nearby shopping center until police were able to quickly respond.

Chaney was charged with first-degree theft of property, conspiracy to commit first-degree theft of property and criminal possession of a forged instrument. He was being held under a $40,000 bond.

After a white Chevy Equinox was seen leaving the bank, police in the neighboring city of Boaz soon located the vehicle at Jack's Restaurant. Police then arrested Kemp, Jones and a third person — Shermaine Nashawn Caison — at gunpoint in the parking lot. Employees of the fast-food chain videoed the arrest, which sparked controversy after said employees and others could be heard using profanity while being critical of police and accusing law enforcement officers of practicing unnecessary force.

“The video footage recorded by the employees and patrons at Jack’s in Boaz showed exactly what was taking place,” Boaz Police Chief Josh Gaskin told The Reporter. “The only difference in their cell phone video and police department body camera footage would be the angle. Not just the angle at which the video was recorded, but the way the employees and patrons tried to narrate what the officers were doing was wrong.

"The suspects were treated the way anyone else is treated when they are suspected of committing a violent felonious crime," Gaskin said. "The officers weren’t hurt, the suspects weren’t hurt, and no innocent bystanders were hurt.”

Thursday evening, Jack’s management posted a statement that said the employee's criticism did not reflect the company's views as a whole. The chain also said it appreciated the police department's "swift" and "brave" actions. Billie Jo Waara, chief marketing officer for Jack’s, said Friday the company was actively investigating the employees' videos.

Many people throughout the community took to social media to “back the blue” and in response to Jack's employees' negative criticism.

Kemp and Jones were both charged with conspiracy to commit a first-degree theft of property and were also held under a $40,000 bond each.

Caison, 32, of Ellenwood, was charged with tampering with evidence after he attempted to flush marijuana down the toilet once he arrived at the Albertville City Jail. He was held on a $500 misdemeanor bond. He was not charged for any involvement in the robbery.