KNOXVILLE—Two men entered two different homes in kidnappings and extortions involving Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge in April and SmartBank in Knoxville in July, and a woman, possibly with an infant or a toddler, might have entered the first, officials said Wednesday.
A blue four-door car was spotted in the area of the second home about a week before the second incident, said Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Knoxville.
It’s possible there could be a fourth person involved, and it’s not clear if the suspects are still in the area.
Reinhold said both men were wearing disguises. The woman was not, but she might have been wearing a wig and sunglasses.
Authorities are asking people to pay special attention to a orange tattoo with a black or blue outline on the neck of one of the men.
Authorities have received tips, and some have been very good, Reinhold said. Even small tips can help, he said.
Reinhold answered reporters’ questions during a half-hour press conference at the FBI Knoxville office on Dowell Springs Road on Wednesday morning. He was joined by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Major Michael MacLean and Knoxville Police Department Deputy Chief Nate Allen.
During that press conference, the FBI released composite sketches on two subjects and one person of interest. The sketches were developed with help from witnesses.
Asked why it took a while to release the sketches, Reinhold said it takes some time to get confirmed witnesses because they get many different descriptions.
“It’s just a process,” he said.
Now, authorities are asking for help from the public.
“As long as they’re out there, there’s a possibility that these people can act out again,” Reinhold said.
The person of interest, pictured at left, was observed parked in the area about a week before one incident.
He is described as a white male with brown hair, possibly in his early 30s, with a heavy build and round face.
It’s not clear if he might also been involved in the kidnappings and extortions.
The second man, listed as a subject, was at the first robbery and entered the home, Reinhold said.
There is a similar description of a man at the second residence, Reinhold said.
He is described as white and in his late 20s to mid-30s, possibly with salt-and-pepper hair. He is estimated to be about 5’11” to 6’3″ and about 160 pounds, with a lean build and wearing black clothing.
The woman, who is also listed as a subject, was at the first incident, and she may have entered at some point, Reinhold said.
She is described as white with a pale complexion and possibly in her 30s. She is estimated to be between 5’7″ and 5’9″ with long black hair, possibly a wig.
The men were armed, but the woman was not, Reinhold said, although he couldn’t discuss the weapon types.
He also couldn’t discuss any surveillance that might help in the case or security methods within banks that might help track any money taken. The suspects reportedly did not obtain any cash in the first robbery, but they did in the second, although an amount hasn’t been disclosed.
“At this point, we have no indication that anyone at the banks was involved,” Reinhold said.
There was a similar event in Memphis between the two in East Tennessee in April and July, but authorities don’t believe the West Tennessee incident is related to the two in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.
Authorities have looked at similar events in Knox County a decade or so ago, but the people in those cases have been accounted for, Reinhold said.
The two incidents in Oak Ridge and Knoxville this year have been described as similar, with similar subject descriptions and a similar method of operation.
Reinhold said the subjects have what were described as neutral accents.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of the subjects.
“Any information about the identity or whereabouts of the individuals depicted in the composite sketches should be reported to law enforcement,” the FBI said.
Here is the FBI summary of the two cases:
- On April 28, 2015, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a Y-12 Federal Credit Union employee and his family were kidnapped from their residence and held hostage at gunpoint. While the family was held hostage, the employee was coerced to attempt to remove money from the Y-12 Federal Credit Union, located at 501 Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge. After the robbery, the employee’s family members were released unharmed at the Gettysvue Country Club parking lot in Knoxville. The suspects fled and remain at large.
- On Tuesday, July 7, 2015, at approximately 8 a.m, a SmartBank employee and his family were kidnapped from their residence and held hostage at gunpoint. The employee and his family were taken to the SmartBank, located at 202 Advantage Place in Knoxville. While at the bank, the employee was coerced to remove an undisclosed amount of money, which was provided to the robbers. The employee was then left at the bank, and his family was released unharmed a short time later at the end of Pipkin Lane in West Knox County. The suspects fled and remain at large.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and the Knoxville Police Department as part of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, as well as the KPD Violent Crimes Unit, the KCSO Major Crimes Unit, and the Oak Ridge Police Department.
Anyone with information that may lead to the identification or location of the individuals depicted in the composite sketches should contact the Knoxville FBI Office at (865) 544-0751.
Here are larger sketches of the subjects and person of interest:
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