Bank robberies, home invasions, and new traffic laws: News briefs

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

Check daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Bank robbery suspect nabbed

The man police say robbed a Downtown bank during last Monday’s violent thunderstorm is now in custody.

Richard Nelson Hawkins III, also known as “Squirrel,” was arrested at an undisclosed location in Staunton on Sunday by members of the Augusta County Sheriffs Office, according to Charlottesville Police spokesman Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts.

Hawkins, 37 and with a last known address on Early Street in Charlottesville, allegedly entered the United Bank at Fifth Street and the Downtown Mall at about 4:45pm, took cash, and fled. Police have not confirmed whether he was armed, but The Daily Progress reported Roberts indicated Hawkins will likely face armed robbery charges. He is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, Roberts said.

Police: Not clear if home invasions linked

Charlottesville and Albemarle police are investigating a string of home invasions that took place early last week—one of which sent a city resident to the hospital with a gunshot wound—but haven’t said if there’s evidence linking the crimes.

In the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, June 18, 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.

The two departments said their investigations are ongoing.

Virginia National Bank starts paying dividends

Charlottesville-based Virginia National Bank will begin paying quarterly dividends for the first time in its 15-year history, the bank announced last week.

Bank chairman William D. Dittmar announced that board members had voted unanimously to start paying an initial amount of $.05 per share per quarter at the bank’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, June 19. At the same meeting, shareholders approved a restructuring of the bank that will make it a subsidiary of a new holding company, Virginia National Bankshares Corporation, effective later this year. Dittmar said in a press release that the move “will give us an additional operational, business, and financial flexibility to help us continue to expand our business and bring value to our shareholders.”

New no-texting-and-driving law goes into effect 

The Commonwealth is cracking down on Virginia drivers just in time for the holiday weekend. As of Monday, July 1, traffic safety laws passed by the 2013 Virginia Assembly will become effective, including one that makes texting while driving a primary offense. 

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