Bank robbery suspects lead police on chase

Published 10:43 am Saturday, December 4, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—Two Newport News men are behind bars after allegedly robbing a Carrollton bank at gunpoint and leading police on a nearly hour-long chase in a U-Haul truck Thursday.

Gerard Palms, 25, and Phillip Isaac, 29, are accused of robbing the Langley Federal Credit Union in Eagle Harbor Shopping Center just before 6 p.m., Isle of Wight County Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps said.

Shortly after the robbery, a Smithfield police officer and an Isle of Wight deputy spotted a U-Haul truck in the Battery Park area, Phelps said.

“They attempted to stop it, and it refused to stop,” he said. “And of course a pursuit began.”

Officers, including Phelps, pursued the suspects through areas of northern Isle of Wight, Smithfield and across the James River Bridge into Newport News and Hampton.

“Eventually he ended up on I-64 headed towards Williamsburg and we were able to get out some of the stop strips that we use, punctured the tires and got the vehicle stopped,” Phelps said.

Palms and Isaac were taken into custody and charged with bank robbery, use of a firearm while committing a felony and two counts of abduction. Isaac also faces a conspiracy to commit a felony charge.

Palms, who was the driver, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.

“He will also face various felony allude charges for running,” Phelps said.

Police recovered the firearms and the stolen money. Phelps declined to say how much money was recovered.

The ordeal lasted more than 50 minutes and involved officers from Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police and police departments in Smithfield, Hampton and Newport News.

“That’s the longest pursuit time-wise that I’ve had,” Phelps said.