T'town Police Criticized
The manager of an Olmsted Village bank complained to the Taylortown Council Tuesday night that no police officer could be found when the branch was recently robbed in broad daylight.
Toni Goodrich, manager of Crescent State Bank, told the council that merchants in Olmsted Village are concerned about what they see as a lack of police presence and response in that shopping center on N.C. 211, which is in the Taylortown corporate limits.
The robbery occurred Dec. 3. A man wearing a dark-blue hooded jacket, a throwback Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap, a white T-shirt that hung out from below the jacket, white gloves, dark pants and black shoes with white soles walked in carrying a revolver and a white sack. He aimed the gun away from the employees and fired several shots, according to Moore County Chief Deputy Neil Godfrey.
The Sheriff's Office has identified the suspect as Kenny Lasalle Taylor. The FBI is assisting in the search, and a $5,000 reward has been posted. Taylor, 25, is wanted in connection with a number of crimes besides the bank holdup.
"How would you like to have a gun pointed in your face?" Goodrich asked after the brief council meeting. "He didn't have a car. He ran away on foot."
The robber fled into a wooded area that borders the shopping center, running directly toward the Town Hall on the other side where the police station is located. No officers were on duty that day. Chief Damon Williams and other officers were attending training in another county.
Sheriff Lane Carter has said his office responds in such cases, as some small towns in the county do not have full-police coverage. Deputies responded to the robbery and were stopping cars and spent the afternoon searching the woods where the suspect ran after the robbery.
Goodrich said she is not satisfied with the level of police protection currently provided. Businesses and properties in the Olmsted Village section provide considerable tax revenue to the town, she said.
Finding money to expand police services is on his future agenda, Mayor Ulysses Simpson Grant Barrett Jr. said after the meeting. Taylortown has a budget squeeze because of having to pay for digging up a number of buried structures to comply with N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources regulations.
Despite the challenges, he spoke with guarded optimism about the future of his town.
"I am going to solve the problem," Barrett said. "I am going into it in January, and I am going to solve this problem. I solved it first when I got on the board in the first place 16 years ago. Back then we were so damn broke the cop couldn't buy tires."
Also during the meeting, Barrett reported that attorneys provided for Taylortown by the N.C. League of Municipalities had been in a mediation session dealing with a lawsuit brought by fired police chief Timothy Blakeley, but no resolution was reached.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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