The Oak Ridge branch of the Y-12 Federal Credit Union will remain closed Wednesday and re-open Thursday, a spokesman said. The branch was closed Tuesday during an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Oak Ridge Police Department into a report of a bank robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.
Police responded to the Oak Ridge branch at about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. There were at least a half-dozen officers and detectives at the scene, and they blocked the entrance to the credit union.
Customers were not able to use the bank while authorities investigated. Chris Smith, vice president of marketing at Y-12 Federal Credit Union, said officials were only allowing staff and investigators to enter on Tuesday morning.
He said the Credit Union branch will remain closed Wednesday and reopen for normal hours on Thursday. But employees remain at the Oak Ridge headquarters, which shares a five-story building with the branch, and all staff will report to work on Wednesday, Smith said Tuesday afternoon.
The Oak Ridge branch’s drive-through was also closed Tuesday. Smith said it can’t operate while the branch is closed.
But customers can still use the bank’s automated teller machines, or ATMs, and the other 13 branches in the metro Knoxville area, Smith said.
He said the FBI came in at about 10 a.m. Tuesday and left at about 1 p.m. Federal agents worked with Oak Ridge Police Department detectives.
Smith said he couldn’t comment on why the branch is closed while the headquarters remains open.
Employees were not allowed to leave during the three-hour investigation on Tuesday, and the Credit Union ordered pizza for them to eat.
Separately, several Knoxville media outlets have reported that about a dozen police and Knox County Sheriff’s Office cruisers had converged in the Whittington Creek subdivision off South Northshore Drive in Knoxville. But it’s not clear if the two events are related. Smith said he couldn’t comment on that.
Knoxville media has reported that investigators were at the home of Y-12 Federal Credit Union Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Ziegler on Dobson Park Lane in west Knox County. Smith said he couldn’t comment on that.
In a press release late Tuesday afternoon, the FBI said preliminary reports indicated that at about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, an employee of the credit union and the employee’s family were threatened in an attempt to obtain money from the credit union. The employee’s family was held for a period of time before being released in the Gettysvue Country Club parking lot in Knoxville at around 9:25 a.m. During the law enforcement response, the suspects fled, and no injuries have been reported, and no money was taken from the credit union, the FBI said. (See that story here.)
An FBI press release said law enforcement agencies are looking for two male subjects and one female subject, but no further descriptions are available at this time.
Members of the public who were in the vicinity of the Whittington Creek neighborhood (around Whittington Creek Boulevard, South Northshore Drive, and/or Scott Lane), in Knoxville between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., or the Gettysvue County Club parking lot in Knoxville between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. who may have noticed a vehicle following a 2010 gold Lexus, RX350, or any unusual activity, are asked to call the Knoxville FBI at (865) 544-0751 or KCSO at (865) 215-2444.
Smith said it’s the first incident of its type at Y-12 Federal Credit Union, which has been in Oak Ridge since 1950.
More information will be added as it becomes available.