Bank robbery suspect set to appear in court

A Waynesboro man is due in court today on charges that he made a bomb threat at SunTrust Bank last month before robbing a teller of less than $1,000.

Stuart Henry Veney III, 29, of North Charlotte Avenue, faces up to life in prison for one charge of entering a bank while armed to commit larceny. A charge of making a bomb threat carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

Waynesboro police arrested Veney early March 11, just 34 hours after the SunTrust heist, which closed down Broad Street for two hours while Virginia State Police worked to detonate a “disruption shot” inside the bank to disarm what was believed to be a bomb. The suspected device, however, was not explosive.

Police initially responded to the bank before 4 p.m. on March 9 after a man wearing a dreadlocked wig entered, demanded money and indicated he had a bomb. He left a black case and a note and ran out the bank’s back door toward Main Street.

He was carrying less than $1,000, police said. No employees or officers were injured.

In part, police credited tipsters for the quick arrest. Numerous phone calls and some written messages were delivered to police in the case, said Waynesboro police Sgt. Kelly Walker. A Department of Corrections bloodhound also successfully tracked the suspect’s scent from the bank for about a quarter-mile. Also helpful was the recovered robbery note.

Only once in the past 30 years have Waynesboro police failed to solve a bank robbery, Walker said. On that occasion, the case lacked video evidence.

Veney remains in custody at Middle River Regional Jail in Verona. If, during his 2 p.m. hearing today, a judge finds sufficient evidence, Veney’s case will move to a grand jury May 11.

Court records since 1993 show Veney convicted of marijuana possession, forgery, larceny by false pretenses, petty and grand larceny and obstructing justice in jurisdictions including Waynesboro and Augusta, Albemarle and Rockingham counties.

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