Police investigate bank robbery, home invasions

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Richard Nelson Hawkins III, aka "Squirrel," whom police believe robbed United Bank on the Downtown Mall Monday. Photo courtesy Charlottesville Police. Richard Nelson Hawkins III, aka "Squirrel," whom police believe robbed United Bank on the Downtown Mall Monday. Photo courtesy Charlottesville Police.

It’s been a busy week for Charlottesville and Albemarle police, who are investigating a bank robbery and three armed home invasions, one of which sent a city resident to the hospital with a gunshot wound.

City police are now seeking a suspect in the bank robbery, which took place around 4:45pm Monday at Union Bank on the Downtown Mall at Fifth Street. Police say Richard Nelson Hawkins III, 37, entered the bank at the height of the violent thunderstorm that swept through the area that afternoon, demanded money, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

He allegedly fled south toward Water Street, where, according to an NBC29 story, he unhurriedly called a cab, waited for it for 20 minutes on nearby South Street, and was dropped off at a house outside Charlottesville after counting his money, paying for the ride in cash, and tipping the driver with a tank of gas.

Police didn’t release the robber’s identity at first, but on Thursday night, they released Hawkins’ name and mugshot, describing him as white, 5’8″, 175 pounds, brown-haired and brown-eyed with a tattoo of a turtle on his right shoulder and two left ear piercings. According to the wanted poster released yesterday, he goes by the name of “Squirrel,” and his last known address was 1312 Early Street in Charlottesville. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crimestoppers at (434) 977-4000.

In the early hours of the morning Tuesday, police were called to a Shelby Drive residence where a 24-year-old resident said two black men had forced their way in through the front door, shot him, and robbed him. The victim was taken to UVA Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, said city police spokesman Ronnie Roberts.

The following night, two county homes were robbed by armed men. The first robbery took place at 11:15pm on the 200 block of Colonnade Drive, just a few blocks from the Corner, where the resident said two men with a gun took electronic items and cash, according to county police spokeswoman Carter Johnson. About an hour later, police responded to another armed robbery on the 200 block of Lakeview Drive in the Four Seasons condo community off of Rio Road West. In that invasion, three men with a gun allegedly also took electronics and cash. Neither victim was injured in those robberies, Johnson said.

Police have said they don’t yet know if the robberies are connected in any way.

 

 

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