State News

FBI identifies suspect in bank robbery spree

Posted August 27, 2009 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2009 8:36 a.m. EDT

— The FBI has identified a suspect in a three-month bank spree spanning the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee: an Indiana man convicted three times for armed robbery in one county.

A warrant issued Thursday charges Chad E. Schaffner in two armed bank robberies in Tennessee cities two hours apart Aug. 18.

The warrant also contained surveillance photos from eight other bank robberies that the FBI believes that Schaffner might have committed since May. Those robberies include ones in Fayetteville, Hendersonville, Edenton and Fletcher.

He has not been charged in those robberies.

The warrant documents violent behavior by Schaffner during the Tennessee robberies: He brandished a firearm in both and once held a gun to a clerk's head and said, "Don't put a dye pack in the bag, or I will come back and blow your head off."

Schaffner was released from an Indiana prison in December 2008 after serving 6 months time for armed robbery, the warrant says.

According to Indiana Department of Correction records, Schaffner has spent more than 14 of the past 18 years behind bars. In addition to armed robbery, he has been convicted of burglary and escaping from custody.

The FBI credited the identification of Schaffner to tips received from an electronic billboard campaign that has been running for about a week across the South.

The warrant says that a man who had known Schaffner for about two months told the FBI he'd been in the Morristown, Tenn., area during the robberies. Agents also talked to a woman who they had heard had recently started a relationship with Schaffner, but she denied knowing him.

The next day, though, the woman told agents that Schaffner had been in her apartment when she talked to them earlier. He showed a gun and threatened to kill her children if she told them about him, the warrant says. Schaffner left in a large, gray sedan with Knox County, Tenn., tags.

He might also be driving a black GMC pickup with Tennessee plates or a red Chevrolet pickup with South Carolina tags. He is considered armed and dangerous.