HILLSBOROUGH -- When Hillsborough police Capt. Dexter Davis asked a man acting suspiciously at a bank Monday afternoon whether he had a weapon, the man opened his backpack to let Davis see for himself.
What Davis saw made him want to laugh out loud -- and got the man immediately arrested.
The story of how Davis and Sgt. Brad Whitted caught a man wanted for trying to rob a Central Carolina Bank branch in Durham began with a telephone call.
"About 4:30 p.m., we got a call in here that a suspicious person came into the BB&T Bank [in Hillsborough] and stayed about 15 minutes and left," Davis said.
The man had entered the South Churton Street bank but never approached the tellers or conducted any bank business, Davis said.
Davis and Whitted drove to the bank, and as they approached, they saw a man walking toward the back of the bank with a backpack on. They parked in front and had just walked in the first set of doors, when the man came walking back out, Davis said.
"I asked him to step outside to see an identification," Davis said. "He produced several cards that had his name on them."
The man seemed nervous and asked why the officers had stopped him, Davis said.
"I asked if he had a weapon. He pulled his book bag off his shoulders. He opened the bag up and held it open to me," Davis said. "I looked down, and there I saw a note that said, "I want $10,000 in $100 bills. Don't push no buttons, or I'll shot you."
He didn't know how to spell shoot, Davis noted.
Somehow, when the man swung the book bag around and opened it up, the note slipped into perfect position so that it was lying flat in the backpack and was easy to read when Davis looked inside.
"I thought, 'What a dummy!'" Davis said. "I even showed it to Sgt. Whitted. I almost chuckled when I saw that note. I was looking for a weapon, but here was this note with nice large letters."
Davis put the bag down and then put handcuffs on the man. When asked about the note, the man said, "It ain't mine," Davis said.
After putting the handcuffs on the man, Davis and Whitted were in for another surprise. "We patted him down and at that point, a butcher knife fell out of his britches," Davis said.
The blade of the knife was at least 10 inches long and had a sharp point.
Davis and Whitted took the man back to the Hillsborough Police Department, where a detective contacted the Durham Police Department and the FBI. Hillsborough police did not charge the man with any crimes since he did not actually attempt to rob the bank in Hillsborough. They turned him over to the FBI agents.
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