LCSO: Eyewitness reportedly thwarts bank robbery in Hull

Investigator James McQueen Jr. and Chief Deputy Don Neyland with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office stand outside the entrance to to Texas First Bank in Hull on Friday where a robbery attempt allegedly was averted. Standing behind them and helping to coordinate a search for the would-be bank robber's vehicle is LCSO Capt. Billy Knox.

By Vanesa Brashier,

An unwitting eyewitness may have thwarted a robbery attempt at Texas First Bank, formerly known as Hull State Bank in Hull, around 11 a.m. Friday.

According to Capt. Robert Dunn, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect was walking toward the entrance of the bank when he pulled down a Scream-type mask over his face. Around the same time, he and the eyewitness saw each other, and the suspect ran toward a wooded area near the bank.

The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic male wearing blue jeans and a satchel bag. Law enforcement identified the suspect’s vehicle, a tan Toyota Tundra, which he reportedly used to flee the scene after running through the woods.

A vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was intercepted on SH 105 west of the four-way stop in Tarkington, at CR 2233, by State Trooper Preston Gustavsen, who was assisted by Pct. 5 Deputy Constables Brian Bortz and Felton Buxton.

The driver, who reportedly matches the description of the suspect, was taken into custody and is being held at the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office until he can be taken into federal custody. Bank robberies and attempted bank robberies are considered federal crimes and any investigation of the case will be handled by federal authorities.

The man’s vehicle was towed from SH 105 and is being impounded at Smith Towing in Cleveland until federal authorities can search it for evidence.

Dunn commended the eyewitness for averting the alleged robbery attempt.

“A citizen stepped up today. Had it not been for someone witnessing him walking up to the bank in the manner he was, then he might have made it into the bank,” he said.

The Hull bank was also targeted in March 2019 when it was robbed by a Houston-area man, who was subsequently arrested and prosecuted.

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