The State Employees’ Credit Union located across Highway 107 from campus was robbed Dec. 14 and a WCU student was arrested for the crime. He later admitted to robbing the bank and has been sentenced to jail. A timeline of the updates from the day of the robbery and news that has broken since are listed below. A complete story can be found in our print edition.
UPDATE – 1/4, 5 p.m. – Edwards appeared in court today for the second time and he entered a plea of guilty for common law robbery for robbing the State Employees’ Credit Union. He was convicted and sentenced to a total active prison sentence of a minimum of 10 months and a maximum of 21 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections. District Attorney Michael Bonfoey stated in court, “I commend the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for its swift response and quick action to solve this robbery within hours. Sheriff Jimmy Ashe and the other officers that responded to the scene and caught Edwards performed very professionally and apprehended the defendant and solved the crime very quickly.” The fact that Edwards used a toy gun, which under the law is not a dangerous weapon, is the reason he was convicted of common law robbery and not robbery with a dangerous weapon, which he was previously charged with. A charge of possession of stolen property was also dropped as part of the guilty plea.
UPDATE – 12/20, 12 p.m. – Edwards was in court today to face for the first time his charges from last week. We have learned that he robbed the credit union of $3,343 using a plastic gun, according to court documents. It was first assumed following the robbery that he was armed with a dangerous weapon because of the plastic gun’s appearance, but when officers searched Edwards’ car the plastic gun was found. Edwards reappears in court on Jan. 4, he has already admitted to robbing the credit union during an interrogation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
UPDATE – 12/15, 6 p.m. – A need for some quick cash may have been the motive for Brian Edwards to rob the State Employees’ Credit Union across campus at gunpoint Wednesday. Students and friends of Edwards said today that he was a nice guy, but under a lot of financial stress trying to pay his bills. They say he was strapped for money and was being evicted from his apartment at Catamount Peak. Edwards remains in jail tonight on a $250,000 bond.
UPDATE – 5:15 p.m. – Brian Anthony Edwards, 21 and a WCU student, was charged with armed robbery and possession of stolen property in connection with today’s State Employees’ Credit Union robbery. His bond is set at $250,000 and has a first scheduled court appearance of Dec. 20. He is pictured at right.
UPDATE – 1:40 p.m. – Pictured at right is the silver Geo Tracker at Catamount Peak Apartments that is believed to have been the getaway car in today’s robbery. Employees at Catamount Peak could not comment on who owns the vehicle or who was arrested at Building 85.
UPDATE – 1:18 p.m. –
UPDATE – 1:15 p.m. –
UPDATE – 1:05 p.m. –
UPDATE – 12:55 p.m. –
UPDATE – 12:45 p.m. – We have received reports that the silver Geo Tracker believed to be driven by the suspect in the State Employees’ Credit Union robbery was spotted at Catamount Peak Apartments and a room in Building 85 was searched.
UPDATE – 12:35 p.m. –
UPDATE – 12:05 p.m. – Authorities have released a photo of the suspect in the robbery – see at right.
UPDATE – 11:45 a.m. –
UPDATE – 11:20 a.m. –
UPDATE – 11 a.m. – WCU Police has confirmed that the suspect is armed. They do not have information regarding direction of travel or location, but are advising all WCU Community to “Shelter in Place” and “please stay where you are”.
UPDATE – 10:50 a.m. WCU Police has been advised of a robbery within the last few minutes at the State Employees’ Credit Union located across Highway 107 from campus. Suspect is described as a white male, wearing a mask, a hooded maroon sweatshirt, and blue jeans with a patch. No weapon information is available but as a precaution WCU Police is assuming that the suspect is armed. A dye pack did go off as the suspect left the scene. Direction and means of travel are unknown at this time. WCU Police has stationed themselves at all entrances and a search for the suspect is being conducted. They added, “Please refrain from moving into the area of the travel lodge gas stations and the Credit Union”.