2 arrested in Suwanee bank heist

SUWANEE - Suwanee police arrested two Flowery Branch men about 24 hours after the duo allegedly robbed a bank with a pellet gun.

Police say the men held up the Gwinnett Community Bank at 3463 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road just before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Both suspects were arrested Wednesday and remain at the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond.

The alleged gunman, Ryan D. Jones, 22, faces armed robbery and aggravated assault charges. Investigators said he entered the bank masked by a bandanna and stocking cap, netted an undisclosed amount of money and then left on foot.

Jones was on probation for marijuana possession with intent to distribute, according to a warrant.

His alleged accomplice, Marquel Newton, 18, also faces an armed robbery charge. Witnesses told police the men left the area in a gray Honda compact car.

Suwanee police Sgt. Shane Edmisten said what bank employees thought was a semi-automatic handgun was actually a pellet gun.

FBI Atlanta joined Suwanee police in the manhunt Tuesday. Police released surveillance images taken at the bank to the public, garnering tips that led to the suspects, Edmisten said.

"The following morning we got a call from an acquaintance of the two individuals," Edmisten said. "The public is always a big help to us. Usually when we solve big cases, it's some alert citizen who's given us the lead."

The 2007 success rate for bank robbers in Suwanee is pretty dismal.

Of the six bank heists within city limits this year, Edmisten said the department has made arrests in all cases but one.

That case involves a suspected serial bank robber investigators have dubbed the "Grandpa Bandit."

In his mid-60s, the man is distinguished by his baseball cap and wrinkled face. Police said he robbed a SunTrust Bank branch in Suwanee last month. He's also suspected of robbing banks in Covington and Tennessee, most recently in Knoxville on Nov. 1.

Edmisten said investigators have identified a suspect who could be the bandit. Suwanee police obtained 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.

Police consider Phillips armed and dangerous.