Rutherford Man Nabbed for Cliffside Robbery
A young Rutherford County man who declares he makes liquor for a living is being held in Cleveland county jail on charges of robbing a Cliffside bank Tuesday.
Garman Marshall (Jimmy) Spicer, 23, of Harris, was arrested at his father-in-law’s house south of Cowpens, S. C. Tuesday afternoon. The arrest was made barely four hours after the Haynes Bank was robbed of $9,510 by an armed man.
Spicer denied today that he was involved in the robbery, but SBI agent John Vanderford said witnesses were positive in their identification.
An old model black car, identified by witnesses as that used in the robbery, was found at the Spicer house in Harris, officers said.
Present in the bank shortly before noon were Cashier Bill Jenkins, Teller Mrs. Betty Houser Cromer and a customer, Brown Willis, Cliffside textile man.
Jenkins said a man came to a teller’s window and asked for change for a $5 bill.
“I started to give the bills to him,” Jenkins recalled, “when he withdrew the bill and pulled a .45 automatic.”
Willis said the man ordered him away from the teller’s cage and made the two bank employees come from behind the counter.
“He walked behind the counter by a swinging door, and scooped up the money in the first teller’s cage,” Willis said.
Jenkins noted that money in plain sight in two other cages and on another table was not touched by the bandit. He took bills only, not bothering silver or checks.
Willis said that while the man was stuffing money into his shirt, his pistol fired.
“He was so nervous and shaking so,” Mrs. Cromer said, “it probably fired by accident.” The bullet passed through the tabs on a card index file, struck the marble counter and ricocheted to the floor.
Willis said he doesn’t remember being ordered to lie down on the floor, but none of the three saw the man leave the scene. All three were on the floor.
The bandit had parked a car on a dirt road at the rear. He was seen speeding out of town southward.
Federal Bureau of Investigation officers said today at least six witnesses identified Spicer.
Vanderford said the car found at Spicer’s house was brought back to the scene and parked where the getaway car was parked, and witnesses identified it.
Spicer said he had no reason to rob a bank, “I make liquor for a living,” he told a newsman, “that is, when the law will let me. They sometimes frown on that.”
Spicer denied the holdup, and said those who identified him “must be crazy or drunk.”
I ain’t admitting nothing, he said, I was in Cowpens all day. My brother took me down there yesterday morning.
His brother, John T. Spicer, 27, was picked up for investigation while driving toward North Carolina on US. 221, about three miles below the state line.
Trooper D. W. Spratt of Shelby was operating a roadblock when the brother came through. Officers sped to the scene, then continued to Cowpens to pick up the younger Spicer.
In the group were SBI Assistant Director J. W. Jessup, South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Agent Earl collins, Rutherford County Deputy Ben Humphries and SBI agents John Vanderford and John Mead.
Jimmy Spicer was under investigation from the beginning as more than 100 officers fanned out in the area looking for signs of the bandit.
He was arraigned before U.S. Commissioner B. W. Craig of Gastonia Tuesday night after questioning by federal and state authorities.
The stolen money or the gun used in the robbery have not been recovered. Officers Tuesday evening searched the Spicer farm in Rutherford County.
A still was discovered during the search, and John Spicer was arrested by Rutherford authorities on charges of violating prohibition laws.
Spicer was arrested last year in Cleveland County on charges of operating a still in a house near Boiling Springs.
Reprinted with permission from The Shelby Daily Star. Copyright owned by The Shelby Star.
Article provided by Ruby Bailey