Virginia Beach, Va. - The bank robbers who on Friday terrorized Wells Fargo tellers and put a nearby neighborhood on a panicky lockdown initially escaped with more than $34,000, according to police records made public Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, court records for the first time revealed glimpses into the lives of the accused men, both in their 40s. One has no criminal record at all; the other, a misdemeanor theft conviction more than 20 years old. Several people who knew the men spoke with NewsChannel 3 through emails and phone conversations Tuesday. All said they were shocked at the arrests, and that the men were well liked and seemingly respectable.
Court records and interviews show John Anthony Lewis is a married father of two. He’s a lifelong Hampton Roads resident who works as a nighttime pizza-delivery driver in Chesapeake. In his court file, a magistrate wrote: “Weapons and drugs (were) found as a result of (the) investigation.”
The court file for Rory Duke Diggs lists him as an “on again, off again” day laborer who has lived in the area since he was 16. A court record lists him as a high-school dropout who earned a GED. The magistrate who filed the charges said Diggs was “cooperative.” Court records show he is also known by the name Rory Little.
Police on Tuesday declined to say why they at first thought there were three robbers, but then determined only Lewis and Diggs were involved.
“As you can imagine, Friday’s incident was a very dynamic, chaotic, traumatic event, but due to this being an active, multi-agency investigation we are not at liberty to go into those details,” wrote Virginia Beach officer Tonya Borman in an email.
A state trooper tried to stop a speeding SUV just after the bank robbery. The chase ended in at the dead-end of Mansion Cross Way, where witnesses said the robbers opened fire on the trooper, whose head was grazed by a bullet. The robbers then briefly escaped.
Police said Diggs was arrested in a backyard not long after. Lewis was arrested the next morning before dawn. Police said they are likely responsible for a series of unsolved bank robberies in the area.
The records made public Tuesday do not show any link between the men. However, on Lewis’ Facebook page there is a picture of the two together. Someone took down that page by afternoon. On a Facebook page for Lewis’ wife, she included Diggs as a person who attended a birthday party.
Both are in jail without bail, and they declined to share their sides of the stories.