Tupelo bank robbery suspect arrested

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The man suspected of robbing a Tupelo bank July 7 is in federal custody awaiting a Monday court hearing.
Robert Thomas Shantz, 31, of Georgia was arrested in Memphis late Friday afternoon after a Cordova, Tenn., bank was robbed at gunpoint, officials report.
Saturday, Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton said he’s informed about the arrest.
“Detectives are communicating with the FBI and local Tennessee agencies and more details may be available next week,” he said in an e-mail news release.
Bank robbery is a federal crime.
Arrested with Shantz was Johnny Harris. No information was immediately available about who Harris is or how he came to be with Shantz.
Details about where they are being held also was not available Saturday, but a Shelby County Jail official said they are not there.
Another law enforcement contact said they likely are in a federal detention facility near the Shelby County Jail.
They are scheduled to appear in federal court Monday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Northern Mississippi could not be contacted Saturday about whether it will seek to prosecute Shantz. While the U.S. District of West Tennessee has him now, he’s also wanted for bank robberies in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia.
Reports show that about 4 p.m. Friday, Memphis police and Shelby County deputies responded to an alarm at the Bank of Barlett branch on Highway 64 and Houston Levee Road in Arlington.
Investigators say two armed men walked into the bank and approached a teller. One of them demanded money while the other ordered employees and customers to lie on the floor.
After receiving cash from the teller, the men left the bank and drove away in a white truck with a Georgia license plate.
Shantz and a second person reportedly were seen with “bags” in their hands. The witness said he followed them and alerted police.
Memphis police reportedly spotted the truck on Highway 64 and followed it. With the help of sheriff’s deputies, the car was stopped at an exit near Macon Road and Highway 385. The men in the truck were taken into custody without incident, officials said.
Shantz is wanted in Tupelo for the July 7 armed robbery of Trustmark Bank on West Main Street.
He also was wanted in Arkansas in connection with a Centennial Bank robbery in Conway on July 1 and Regions Bank in Marion on July 2.
Law enforcement across four states, as well as the FBI, have been searching for Shantz, whom they listed as “armed and dangerous.”

Click video to hear audio