Keith Sitton of Calhoun stepped in during the Sept. 14 robbery of the BB&T Highway 53 branch and helped put the accused robber behind bars.
“He was absolutely responsible for this arrest,” Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss said.
Sitton was off-duty when he was driving on the road between El Nopal and the Bill Apple Village shopping center and spotted a black Pontiac Grand Prix parked at the BB&T Bank at 409 East Ga. 53 around 5 p.m.
“The way it was parked looked suspicious,” said Sitton, who is over the polygraph department at GBI.
Sitton, a 32-year law enforcement veteran, pulled into the bank close to the car.
“It had out-of-town tags,” he said, adding that he saw in the car a man who matched the description of a suspect wanted in connection to an earlier bank robbery.
“I called 911 and told them what I saw,” he said.
Sitton said he watched the man, later identified as Craig Robinson, 28, of Atlanta, walk in the bank and a few minutes later, walk out.
According to the Calhoun Police Department, Robinson had produced a hand-written note demanding money inside the bank and left with an undisclosed sum.
“He walked beside my truck while I was on the phone with 911,” said Sitton. “He didn’t run or anything, he was very calm.”
Because law enforcement had not arrived yet, Sitton followed Robinson onto Interstate 75. He doesn’t know if the Robinson suspected he was being followed. He did say that Robinson slowed down, as if he wanted Sitton to pass him.
“When I didn’t, he sped back up,” said Sitton.
Once they crossed into Bartow County, Sitton said he saw law enforcement officials.
“I told 911 and they relayed it to the officers, so I pulled over and let them have it,” said Sitton.
Georgia State Patrol officers engineered a successful pit maneuver, Robinson’s vehicle left the roadway, and he was taken into custody.
Several of Sitton’s peers said his award of courage from the GBI is well-deserved.
Moss said that if Sitton hadn’t called E-911, the police would not have responded until it was too late.
“(Robinson) would have been gone by the time the bank sounded the alarm and E-911 notified us. (Robinson) was only a half-mile from I-75,” said Moss. “Sitton’s actions possibly prevented additional robberies or even injuries.”
Moss praised him as a “very experienced, knowledgeable law enforcement officer” whom he’s worked with several times when Sitton was a Calhoun police officer.
His actions also earned the praise of his supervisor, Sherry Lang.
“He did the right thing,” she said. “It speaks volumes of his dedication . . . to know that he put his life on the line and used his personal vehicle to make sure this person was caught.”
When he was interviewed by the FBI, Calhoun Police Detectives, and the Adairsville Police Department, Robinson confessed to robbing the BB&T bank and he also confessed to robbing the Bank of the Ozarks in Adairsville in early September.
Robinson remains in the Gordon County Jail. According to the District Attorney’s office, the Grand Jury can receive the case in December, or possibly March.