Crime & Courts

Search for armed and dangerous suspect in Forest Acres bank robbery enters day 2

See the scene of Forest Drive bank robbery

See the scene of a robbery at the South Carolina Federal Credit Union on Forest Drive.
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See the scene of a robbery at the South Carolina Federal Credit Union on Forest Drive.

The search is continuing Wednesday morning for a convicted criminal wanted in a Tuesday holdup at a Forest Acres bank that led to a multi-car crash and halted traffic on Forest Drive for hours.

When Samuel Neathery’s name was announced as the escaped suspect in Tuesday’s bank robbery, the name was familiar to law enforcement in Polk County, Florida.

The Forest Acres Police Department named Neathery as the man they are looking for following Tuesday morning’s robbery of the South Carolina Federal Credit Union on Forest Drive. The incident ended with shots fired and a multiple vehicle collision, according to investigators.

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Neathery was able to get away by running out of the bank then going back in to find a back door where he escaped into a residential area of Forest Acres. A search ensued with Richland County’s tactical team, K-9 squad, a police helicopter and plane. Police have been unable to catch Neathery, but a ground search continued Tuesday night.

A helicopter buzzed through the sky above Forest Acres even after the sun set Tuesday.

Neathery is considered armed and dangerous, according to the Forest Acres Police Department’s news release.

Samuel Levone Neathery Forest Acres Police Department

But in 2008 law enforcement did catch him.

In May of that year authorities in Polk County charged Neathery with armed robbery, according to Florida Department of Corrections records. In 2009 he was convicted of the felony and sent to jail for 10 years.

Neathery got out of Florida state prison in May 2018, a background check shows.

The 29-year-old Neathery was described by Forest Acres Police as 5-foot-8, 170-pound white male with a goatee.

Neathery’s accomplice in the robbery has not been identified by police.

Forest Acres Police Department Chief Marion Sealy said the female suspect will be identified when she is taken to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and charged, according to a news release. Sealy said the female suspect could be taken to the Richland County jail by Wednesday morning.

As she tried to speed away from the bank on Forest Drive, she was shot twice by a law enforcement officer. She collided with one vehicle on the busy road, causing three others to wreck. Investigators found money in her car after the collision, police said. In the end, the authorities corded off a large crime scene that closed down Forest Drive from Trenholm Road to Laureate Drive.

The duo stole a car before hitting up the bank, according to police. The car had Georgia plates.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 803-782-9444 or Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC or submit an online tip.

Reporter Teddy Kulmala contributed.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.
Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.