An alleged serial bank robber that struck the BB&T branch in April along with two other banks in Douglasville, Ga. and Alabama was recently tracked down and arrested in Conyers.
Charles Ardister, 46, of Ellenwood, Conyers and Birmingham, Ala. was arrested May 7 and charged with robbery in Conyers, robbery in Douglas County and pending charges of robbery in Birmingham.
While Conyers police were investigating the April 3 BB&T robbery, another bank, the Community Southern Bank, was robbed in Douglas County in a very similar manner - by passing a note to the teller. A Regions Bank branch in Birmingham was also robbed this way on May 1.
Investigations into the robberies indicated it might be the same suspect, according to Conyers Police Capt. Scott Freeman.
"Through a combination of law enforcement networking in an exchange of information, the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Investigative Assistant put the final piece of the puzzle together. Acting on information that a deputy had previously stopped Ardister in the Conyers area, RCSO was able to locate the video from a deputy's patrol unit. Upon viewing the in-car video, as well as pictures of the suspect, the similarities of the suspect and Ardister were overwhelming. Once we knew Ardister was a suspect, we were quickly able to place Ardister in Conyers, Douglasville, and Birmingham on the dates of the robberies."
Ardister had been stopped shortly after the robbery in Douglasville, Ga. but was released without arrest.
The Rockdale County SWAT team entered the residence in Conyers off Pinelog Road where Ardister was staying on May 7 around 8p.m. and he was arrested without incident.
A search of Ardister's car revealed multiple items of evidence, which included cash, numerous receipts with large cash payments, and clothing. Ardister was taken to the Conyers Police Department wheredetectives, along with detectives from the Douglasville Sheriff's Office conducted an interview with Ardister. During the interview, Ardister admitted to robbing all three banks.
"This was a joint effort of multiple jurisdictions working together to apprehend a serial bank robber," said Freeman. "Thanks to the efforts of the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, we were able to get some concrete information to identify him. With that information, the pieces of the puzzle quickly fell into place and we were able to arrest Ardister, who was preparing to leave the state only moments before the SWAT team moved in to arrest him."