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Family tip led to arrest of 'repeat robber'

Posted October 26, 2010
Updated October 27, 2010

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— A man arrested Monday night in connection with a string of bank robberies in the Triangle, was turned in by his family, his sister told WRAL Tuesday.

Lee Bennett Pope, 37, who has addresses in Garner, Raleigh and Whitakers, was charged with six counts of common law robbery for crimes in Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill that range from Sept. 26 to Oct. 19. He is also charged with one count of attempted common law robbery for a crime in Zebulon on Oct. 8.

The "common law" charge means Pope did not show a weapon. That factor keeps his charges in state court and means he could face a much lighter punishment than had he used a gun in the robberies.

He appeared in court Tuesday and was assigned a public defender. He was being held in the Wake County jail under a $1,036,000 bond until a probable cause hearing scheduled for Nov. 16.

repeat robber 'Repeat Robber' surveillance images

The arrest comes after at least a dozen robberies in the Triangle area, most within the past month, in which a man with facial hair, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap handed bank tellers notes demanding money.

In addition to the Wake County bank robberies, federal and local authorities believe the man, whom they dubbed “the Repeat Robber,” was also responsible for three other bank robberies in Durham.

Family members said they tipped off authorities after seeing his photograph on TV.

"Good people make bad mistakes," his sister said. "He's a good person (who) just had a rough life and made a lot of mistakes."

Family members said they suspect financial hardship and drug use led him to commit the crimes.

It was not immediately clear whether Pope has been charged in those cases. Also unclear, was whether he is a suspect in an Aug. 10, 2009, bank robbery in Raleigh that police also linked to the “Repeat Robber.”

A lengthy record

According to the North Carolina Department of Correction, Pope is listed as an absconder from probation supervision. He is on two years’ probation for a July 2010 conviction for selling drugs.

Police nab suspected serial robber Police nab suspected serial robber

Court records also indicate that he was pulled over Sept. 9 in Durham for driving with a revoked license. Although he had missed a scheduled visit with his probation officer two days earlier, troopers would not have known about that, Pam Walker with the Department of Correction said.

Pope as not found to be in violation of his probation until Sept. 30. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Oct. 4.

Pope also has arrests for a number of drug charges in Durham and Wake counties, as well as charges of misdemeanor larceny and driving without a registration and with expired vehicle tags.

According to federal court records, Pope pleaded guilty to bank robbery in Maryland in 1995. He served 49 months in prison and was released in March 1999 and was on supervised release for two years.

Tips played important role

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said members of the department’s Fugitive Unit, with help from Durham police, found Pope Monday night at the intersection of Glendale Avenue and West Lynch Street in Durham

Police there arrested him on an outstanding warrant for violating his probation, and Raleigh detectives took custody of him afterward.

“Tips from the public stemming from news media coverage of the recent bank robbery cases played an important role in identifying Pope as a potential suspect in the robberies,” Sughrue said in a statement.

“Follow-up investigative work by detectives and other elements of law enforcement led to determining his location and to the development of the probable cause required to obtain arrest warrants charging him with the robberies,” he continued.

'Repeat Robber's' targets


View Serial bank robber locations in a larger map

185 Comments

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  • Lickad Oct 28, 2010

    I bet that he got turned in because he wouldn't share the loot.

  • Mugu Oct 28, 2010

    Where is the gold? I bet he buried it, I am gonna find it.

  • WritNEWlaws Oct 27, 2010

    Prayers are with his family

  • sharonpotter Oct 27, 2010

    Why does he have a public defender, he robbed all these banks and now we have to hire his lawyer. PLEASE...

  • rockman646 Oct 27, 2010

    This creep robbed my bank ( Wachovia in Cary )scared the daylights out of the teller. She was so shaken up, She had to take a few day's off from work. To the sister, Your brother is a far cry from a good person ! I wish I had visited my bank that day, I would of gave your good brother a Good Beat Down !

  • JAT Oct 27, 2010

    I think any one who works at a bank assumes any robber has a gun whether they show one or not. They should charge him as such.

  • johnstonredneck Oct 27, 2010

    Since his family turned him in, does that mean he woo not be getting a fruitcake from Aunt Sarah this year?

  • akirby1 Oct 26, 2010

    Wonder how these comments would sound if he did in fact have a gun and killed someone. How would it look if a time line of legal violations and parole violations were mapped out. This is another example of how insufficient our state IT and legal resources are. July 2010 probation for selling drugs, Sept. 7th no show to parole officer (parole violation!), Sept. 9th revoked license (another parole violation!), Sept. 30th (3 wks later), parole violation discovered, Oct. 4th arrest warrant, Oct. 25th (21 days after arrest warrant)the FAMILY turns him in as the bank robber! Thank God no one has been killed (that we are aware of)!

  • thepeopleschamp Oct 26, 2010

    "If they had just checked the people 1. on probation 2. failed to show up for probation, they would have had a short list for finding this guy!!" Rebelyell

    You make it sound pretty easy, as if there are only a dozen or so people on probation. Do you know how many 1000's of people are on probation parole in the area? Not as easy as you make it sound. Police still have to have some sort of evidence to arrest, not just a grainy photo that looks like a dude on probation.

  • jdjoydancy Oct 26, 2010

    & for you wondering mines who want to why we did not turn him sooner its because we did not know and we have not seen him in 2 months. so thank you for your judemental comments its now time for you to focus on your families & lives before this blog is about you

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