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Suspect in Charlotte-area bank robberies arrested after chase

A man convicted of robbing a bank in Stanly County has been connected to at least four recent bank robberies in the Charlotte area.

BELMONT, N.C. — A wanted bank robber linked to multiple robberies in the Charlotte area and western North Carolina was arrested, police said. 

Kelvin Wayne Simmons, 46, was arrested in Black Mountain, North Carolina after police say he committed multiple robberies across the state. 

Simmons had called in a fictitious shooting report to police on Thursday just before he was spotted driving around Black Mountain, according to the Black Mountain Police Department. Police believe Simmons was attempting to distract authorities and pull off another bank robbery.

Simmons then led officers on a pursuit at speeds of over 115 mph, according to police. A short time later, Simmons crashed and exited his car before attempting to carjack a car stopped on the highway. Bystanders tackled Simmons to the ground before police arrived to take him into custody.

Hendersonville police allege that Simmons held up the First Citizens Bank Wednesday. Investigators say the suspect, identified as Simmons, handed the teller a note demanding money and told them he had a gun. He left the bank after getting an undisclosed amount of cash. 

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Simmons has also been linked to bank robberies in Belmont, Mooresville, Salisbury and Statesville. In each of the robberies, police say the suspect handed tellers a note demanding money. While he hasn't shown them the weapon he claims to have, the suspect has put the money in a "Despicable Me" lunchbox featuring the Minions characters. 

Simmons, who is from Concord, was convicted in 2022 of robbing a bank in Stanly County, court records show. 

The string of robberies started on Memorial Day weekend in Belmont. Police said that Simmons walked up to a teller at the Woodforest National Bank in Walmart on Saturday, May 27. The suspect was seen leaving the store in a dark blue SUV. 

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On Tuesday, the Statesville Police Department responded to a reported robbery at First Horizon Bank along East Broad Street around 9:20 a.m.

The suspect, believed to be Simmons, walked into the bank with a lunchbox and handed a note to the teller stating that he had a gun and demanded money, according to police. 

Simmons was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, fleeing to elude arrest, second-degree kidnapping, and attempted common law robbery. He faces charges in Buncombe, Cabarrus, Gaston, Henderson, Mecklenburg, and Rowan counties.

Anyone that has information regarding the bank robberies or the whereabouts of Simmons is asked to call the Statesville Police Department, Hendersonville Police Department, or Belmont Police Department.

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Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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