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Man accused of ripping off Colonial Parkway victims’ families now arrested for armed robbery

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 01, 2011
and last updated 2012-03-01 11:47:45-05

Just one month ago, Fred Atwell admitted to NewsChannel 3 that he set up a charity car raffle and faked the outcome.  Atwell is the whistleblower whose revelations rocked the FBI in the Colonial Parkway murders.

Now he has dyed his hair, darkened his beard and trimmed it into a goatee. He's lost weight and looks haggard.

Federal agents caught up to Atwell in Georgia who is now accused of armed robbery in Roanoke County for stealing $60 at gunpoint from a financial advisor who knew him.

NewsChannel 3 was not able to speak with the victim, but a reporter for the James River Journal did.

“He told me he had separated from his wife about two months ago. He told me that he had been living in the woods for a week and that he was hungry. That`s why he was robbing me. He was hungry,” said the victim who was robbed.

Two years ago, Atwell revealed to NewsChannel 3 that the FBI had leaked crime-scene photographs from one of Virginia's most notorious unsolved crimes, The Colonial Parkway Serial Murders. In part to appease angered families, agents promised to re-open the 20-year-old case with new technology. None of that would've happened without Atwell.

But last month Atwell admitted he helped raise reward money with the fake raffle. He said even though he couldn't convince a dealership to donate the cars, he went ahead with the raffle anyway.

Atwell now sits in a Gwinett County jail in Georgia, awaiting extradition for a crime far more serious than the raffle-fraud charges facing him in James City County.