Suspects attempt bank robbery

Law enforcement officials are investigating an attempted bank robbery at First Citizens Bank in Newton Grove.

NEWTON GROVE — Local law enforcement agencies are currently investigating an attempted bank robbery in northern Sampson County.

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning at First Citizens Bank in Newton Grove, 316 Main St. According to Police Chief Frankie Harrell, two suspects backed a vehicle near a door on the north side of the building. With semi-automatic handguns, they got out of the vehicle before seeing a customer at the door.

“One of the citizens was walking towards the door and saw them,” Harrell said describing the account. “It startled them and it startled the citizen as well.”

As a result of being alarmed, the suspects never entered First Citizens Bank, although they thought about it a couple of times.

“So they turned around and got back into the vehicle and they jumped out again and decided to get back in and leave,” Harrell said. “So they never came inside the bank.”

The suspects were described as two black males wearing masks and dark clothing. Harrell said one suspect wore a wool pullover mask and the other had a hard plastic type. The vehicle used in the attempt was described as a black four-door car with chrome wheels. Following the incident, the model and brand was unknown.

Harrell reported that bank employees notified law enforcement after the failed attempt.

“I was there very quickly,” Harrell said.

The Newton Grove Police Department was assisted by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Currently, the incident is under investigation. Harrell said everyone was safe and described it as a random occurrence with the suspects “doing their homework.”

“We’re going to follow up on the leads that we have,” Harrell said.