December 22, 2005
Police are searching for a suspect following a bank robbery that took place on Ivy road.
"When I was pulling into Foods of All Nations, I just saw this kid running really hard," said witness Courtney Johnson. "He looked like a college student just running really hard with this huge sort of reddish pink flume of smoke powder trailing behind him."
That's what Johnson says she saw just moments after a man robbed the SunTrust Bank on Ivy Rd.
"I thought it was one of the secret society pranks or something," said Johnson.
However, it wasn't a prank. Police believe the man Johnson saw was responsible for the robbery.
"A gentleman enters the bank and stands in line like any customer and when it was his turn he produced a note, the note was a demand for money," said Detective Sgt. Richard Hudson.
After receiving that money, the robber is believed to have run from the bank's front entrance westward towards the Ivy Square Shopping Center.
That's where a dye pack the robber was unknowingly carrying exploded, explaining the red cloud of smoke Johnson says she saw.
"In searching the area we found the dye pack between two cars, where he dropped it. We know that it did go off on the suspect and he has got red dye on him," said Lt. Gary Pleasants with the Charlottesville Police Department.
Police hope that dye will raise eyebrows among people who know or have seen the robber, and ultimately lead to his capture.
Witnesses tell officials they saw the suspect hop into a car in the Ivy Square parking lot, and police urge anyone who may have got a good look at the suspect or have information about the robbery to call Crimestoppers at (434) 977-4000.