NRH Police Seek Suspect in Cold Case

Steven Pickering
October 22, 2018 - 5:45 pm

North Richland Hills Police Department

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Police in North Richland Hills are putting out a call for help to find the suspect in a bank robbery and shooting from 2003. They believe the man who robbed a bank in Watauga is connected to a string of other bank robberies across north Texas and Oklahoma.

The Watauga robbery happened on March 3rd, 2003. Officer Jeff Garner pulled over the driver of a red Jeep on a traffic stop. Police believe that man had just robbed a bank in Watauga.

"The bank robber fled that bank and ended up driving into North Richland Hills. The officer had no idea that was the bank robber and attempted to make a traffic stop, said Detective Eric Whitlock. "That led to a short pursuit and the subject fired several shots at Officer Garner, striking him once."

The officer did recover from his injuries and today is a Lieutenant with the NRH Police Department. The suspect escaped and has not been identified. Police are hoping someone recognizes his picture or his behavior between 1998 and 2003 and contacts investigators.

"It's not just our officer who was a victim, this suspect is alleged to have committed several other bank robberies between 1998 and 2003," Det. Whitlock said.

At the time of the robbery, the suspect was described as a heavyset man with scarring on his face. He was wearing a fake mustache and an eye patch.

The man is suspected in robberies in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas between 1998 and 2003. 

Police say the suspect could also be identified by his behavior during that period. He may have displayed an above average interest in banks and financial institutions, might have experienced a loss in income or employment starting in the late summer of 1998 and could have displayed anxiety, nervousness, or irritability.

While the rash of robberies attributed to that suspect stopped in 2003, police don't know what happened to him. He could have been arrested in another state or could have decided to quit his criminal activities. Because Officer Garner returned fire when he was attacked, "it's always possible the suspect was hit and ultimately didn't make it...although that's unlikely," Detective Whitlock said. Another possibility is that "he's still out there doing other types of crimes."

Police are asking anyone with information about the man's identity to contact their tip line at 817-281-1000.  Tipsters can also remain anonymous by contacting the North Richland Hills Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8411.