Grandpa Bank Robber Hits Fourth Knoxville Bank

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - A busy day for robbers in east Tennessee. They hit up three banks in only a matter of hours Friday. The FBI says the man dubbed the "Grandpa Bank Robber" was one of them. This makes the fourth time 64-year-old Bobby Joe Phillips is accused of holding up Knoxville bank tellers.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has the latest.

Three banks. Three crime scenes. Separated by less than five hours. The FBI says the elderly at one of the counters...

"He's definitely above average for his age for a bank robber," said Michael MacLean from the FBI.

...is the Grandpa Bank Robber---Bobby Joe Phillips. He's in his sixties.

"When we see an individual of this age a lot of times it's a person that's a previously convicted bank robber that's spent some time in jail and is back out," MacLean said.

The FBI says he's hit up four Knoxville Banks so far. Today they say he robbed the Tennessee Members First Credit Union in West Knoxville around 11:15. That's the second time this month.

"Historically, a lot of these guys choose banks that have a certain advantage for them," MacLean said.

The FBI says Phillips also held up tellers at First Tennessee Bank on North Cedar Bluff Road twice last month. He's also wanted for three bank robberies in Georgia.

"Unfortunately it was the same victim teller on two of those robberies. So she's traumatized. It's a very scary thing for someone to come in and threaten to kill you," MacLean said.

The Grandpa Bank Robber wasn't the one only out and about Friday. This man held up the BB&T bank on Northshore Drive around 9:30. Then, this man robbed another BB&T just before 2:00. That bank's on Chapman Highway in Blount County. The FBI says the number of bank robberies is up, and drugs could be to blame.

"We think the supply is down. The prices are up. We believe this is causing people to maybe perform the robberies," MacLean said.

The robberies may not be done because the suspects been caught.

The FBI says Phillips should be considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information that could help the FBI catch him or any of the robbers, you should call the FBI at (865) 544-0751.


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