Former cop arrested in attempted bank heist

Published 8:43 am Friday, December 4, 2009

NEWSOMS—After a high-speed chase, authorities arrested a former Chesapeake police officer in connection with an attempted bank robbery in Newsoms on Wednesday morning.

Southampton County Sheriff’s Capt. J.D. Stutts said Richard Eugene Boyce III, a 32-year-old resident of Chesapeake, is charged with attempted bank robbery and wearing a mask in public, both felonies.

A human resources official with the Chesapeake Police Department confirmed Thursday that Boyce was an officer with that force from Nov. 16, 2000, until Oct. 16, 2003, when he was terminated. She declined to say why he was terminated.

Stutts said a man wearing a mask over his face attempted to enter the BB&T branch at 22334 General Thomas Highway but was unable to enter the building because tellers inside would not buzz him in. He then drove away in a blue sedan that had no license plates and was observed heading in the direction of Statesville, N.C.

According to Stutts, deputies saw Boyce driving a blue Ford Taurus in the Sunbeam area and an ensuing pursuit at one point exceeded 80 mph. The chase traversed Sunbeam Road, Monroe Road and Sycamore Church Road before turning north onto U.S. Route 258 toward of Franklin.

Deputies and troopers with the Virginia State Police eventually pulled Boyce over on U.S. Route 58, just east of the interchange with U.S. Route 258. A county police cruiser driven by Deputy Evelyn Fancher crashed on U.S. Route 258 during the pursuit, Stutts said. Fancher was not injured.

Stutts said the attempted robbery is under investigation. BB&T officials at the Newsoms branch and at the company’s headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., declined to comment.

An arraignment date has not yet been set in Southampton County Circuit Court.