Local News

Raleigh police arrest suspected serial bank robber

Posted June 22, 2010 8:08 a.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2010 7:17 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh police said Tuesday that the public was instrumental in helping investigators arrest a man wanted in a string of bank robberies in Raleigh and Cary that date to November.

James Milton Earquahart, 50, of 4700-B Brockton Drive in Raleigh, was charged Tuesday morning with five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

He was in the Wake County jail Tuesday afternoon under $2.4 million in bonds. A judge set his court date for July 13.

"We're very grateful for the citizens of Raleigh," Raleigh police Maj. Rick Grayson said. "We've received numerous tips from America's Most Wanted, NC Wanted and Crime Stoppers, and without those tips, we would not have been able to solve this case. We are extremely grateful to get a violent criminal off the streets."

Earquahart is accused of robbing four banks of a combined total of $182,433, according to arrest warrants filed Tuesday.

Two of the robberies happened at banks he had previously robbed, investigators said, including a Wachovia on Hillsborough Street on March 31 and June 2 and a Wachovia on Falls of Neuse Road on Dec. 29 and Jan. 21.

In each robbery, the violence appeared to escalate, police said.

A teller was assaulted during a Feb. 26 robbery at a SunTrust on Six Forks Road, and in the June 2 robbery, the assailant fired a handgun at someone.

Earquahart is also accused in the Nov. 25 armed robbery of the SunTrust at 910 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary.

Grayson said tips from the public led police to look at Earquahart as a possible suspect. Two Crime Stoppers tips last week led to an arrest Monday evening on existing traffic charges.

A search of his home then turned up evidence that linked him to the robberies, Grayson said.

Investigators are consulting with law enforcement agencies across the state, Virginia and South Carolina to see if other crimes might be connected to Earquahart, which Grayson said is common to do.

"I think with every case like this, we take a natural step to look at other cases to see if he's involved in those," he said, declining to comment further.

Earquahart also faces charges of driving with a revoked license, having a fictitious card or tag on his vehicle and resisting or obstructing a public officer.

Those charges stem from a June 8 traffic stop on Dawson Street in Raleigh, according to arrest warrants, in which he failed to pull over and stop for police.

Earquahart is also charged with assault by pointing a gun in connection with a May 11 incident in which a man pointed a black, semiautomatic handgun at a woman, according to arrest warrants.

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