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Police: Bandit on robbing spree

SUWANEE - Police believe a man in his mid-60s who allegedly robbed a Suwanee bank last week is responsible for four other heists, most recently in Knoxville, Tenn.

Distinguished by his baseball cap and wrinkled face, a man resembling the Suwanee bandit robbed a Knoxville credit union Thursday morning, according to the Knoxville FBI.

The same man is believed to have robbed other Tennessee banks on Oct. 1 and 12 this year.

The suspect's method in the Thursday heist mirrors that used in the SunTrust Bank robbery on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road: He walked in with a concealed handgun on his hip and presented a note demanding money.

He is described as a white man in his mid-60s, with gray hair and glasses, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds. He wore a baseball cap and light-colored, long-sleeved shirt.

Suwanee police Sgt. Shane Edmisten said the same man is suspected of robbing a Covington bank on Sept. 20.

"So we have him connected to five robberies," Edmisten said.

And the sergeant believes he might have his man.

Edmisten secured a warrant for a Covington man named Bobby Joe Phillips, 64, who was last seen driving a red, 2003 Chevrolet S-10 with a Georgia license plate.

Knoxville FBI investigators have been notified of the warrant and are searching for Phillips, Edmisten said. Tennessee authorities haven't had a confirmed sighting of the suspect since Thursday, however.

Police consider Phillips armed and dangerous.

"We don't usually see people of his age committing bank robberies," Edmisten said. "But (Phillips) does have a lengthy criminal history.

"He has been in and out of the criminal justice system since the early 60s."

Anyone with information about the robber's identity is asked to call the Suwanee Police Department at 770-945-8995.