Fire chief foils taxicab getaway

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AIKEN - A would-be bank robber tried to turn a taxicab into a getaway car Monday.

Thomas R. Washington:Man was arrested after a bank robbery was foiled by a local fire chief, police say.  Special
Special
Thomas R. Washington:Man was arrested after a bank robbery was foiled by a local fire chief, police say.

And it might have worked had an off-duty volunteer fire chief not gotten involved.

Aiken authorities say Thomas Washington hired a taxi driver to take him from a motel off Gordon Highway in Augusta to the Security Federal Bank in Graniteville.

As the cab waited outside, Mr. Washington walked inside at about 9:15 a.m. and demanded money from a teller.

He got what he wanted, spilling cash on the ground as he fled the bank and into the cab. But before he could make a clean escape, he was spotted by Chief Phil Napier of the Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville Volunteer Fire Department, who owns a hardware and flower shop next to the bank.

A patron who witnessed the robbery had alerted Mr. Napier.

"I told them to watch the store, and I jumped in the truck," the chief said.

He and another firefighter followed the cab for several miles and radioed the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. When deputies neared the taxi, its driver, who authorities say was unaware of the bank heist, pulled over along Chalk Bed Road.

"I appreciate the help," said Sheriff Mike Hunt, who has feuded with Mr. Napier in the past.

Mr. Washington, 40, of the 100 block of Church Street in Graniteville, was charged with entering a financial institution with intent to steal and grand larceny.

He's being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (7) Add comment
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MyOpinion2
5
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MyOpinion2 03/06/07 - 07:48 am
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0
Mr. Washington needs to be

Mr. Washington needs to be given a generous reward.

bowler
3
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bowler 03/06/07 - 10:09 am
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mr. washington robbed the

mr. washington robbed the bank...why would he get an award?

georgiasal
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georgiasal 03/06/07 - 10:23 am
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Good job Mr. Napier, Mr.

Good job Mr. Napier, Mr. Washington you are one big dummy, you get a one way ticket to jail and hopefully you will not get a "get out of jail free " pass.

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 03/06/07 - 02:27 pm
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Maybe Mr. Washington deserves

Maybe Mr. Washington deserves a reward for bringing Sherriff Hunt and Chief Phil Napier together! LOL!

cd
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cd 03/06/07 - 02:43 pm
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That was stupid Mr.

That was stupid Mr. Washington. It was not your money he was taking

kudzo-n-roses
2
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kudzo-n-roses 03/06/07 - 02:49 pm
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What a dumb crook....????????

What a dumb crook....????????

newsperson
0
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newsperson 03/06/07 - 03:20 pm
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0
I don't understand why we

I don't understand why we would give Mr. Washington a generous reward.

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