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Bank robbery suspect arrested in Tenn.

(Updated Feb. 24, 5:03 pm)

Sheriff announces arrests 
in Bethlehem bank robbery 

(Scroll down to see photos of the suspects)

Alexander County Sheriff’s officers have arrested two people following an armed robbery at Taylorsville Savings Bank in Bethlehem which occurred late last week. No injuries were reported, said Sheriff Chris Bowman.

Taylorsville Savings Bank President Tim Keever told The Times that one man entered the Bethlehem branch about 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20, and demanded money. He displayed a small handgun. He took an undisclosed amount of money, then left quickly in a small grey car driving toward Hickory on NC 127. Keever said the man was only inside the bank approximately 30 seconds.

Bank staff indicated this is the fourth time the Bethlehem branch has been robbed.

The suspect presented a dark-colored gun and demanded an undisclosed amount of currency, which he told the clerk to place in a pastel purple-colored fanny pack, said Sheriff Bowman. He then left the bank in a small gray-colored car, believed to have been a Volkswagen Jetta sedan.

Alexander County Sheriff's officers and Taylorsville Police responded to the bank immediately after the robbery. An alert was given to other agencies and to the public regarding the suspect's car, said Bowman. Very soon after the robbery, a Crime Stoppers tip led Hickory Police to the Waterford Apartments near NC 127 in Hickory, where the suspect vehicle was found.

Bowman said that Hickory Police notified his officers, who then responded to the Waterford Apartments. With Hickory Police assistance, the vehicle was traced to its owner, Margaret Katharine Murphy, age 51 of Hickory, who lives in an apartment there. Consent was obtained from Murphy to search the premises. There, investigators learned that the robbery suspect had possibly taken a bus from Hickory to Tennessee.

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office on Monday announced the arrest of Timothy Michael Sample, age 51 of Hickory.  Sample was arrested on Monday morning, February 23, 2015. Officers with the Nashville Metro Police Department in Nashville, Tennessee, arrested Sample at a Nashville hotel without incident.

Sample was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Bowman said Sample has had many charges and convictions in the past in various states, including Alaska, Hawaii, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, for crimes ranging from DWI, manslaughter, two bank robberies, possession of burglary tools, and federal probation violation.

Margaret Katharine Murphy was also arrested in connection with the robbery. She was charged with accessory before the fact and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. 

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of filing extradition paperwork, as well as investigating the incident further, according to Sheriff Bowman. Two detectives from Alexander County Sheriff's Office have traveled to Nashville and are interviewing witnesses of Sample's movements there.

Timothy Michael Sample

Margaret Katharine Murphy

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