UPDATE: Police release photo of Mercer County bank robbery suspe - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Police release photo of Mercer County bank robbery suspect

Posted: Updated:
Photo of suspect wanted in connection with the armed robbery of the First Community Bank in Bluewell, WV. Photo of suspect wanted in connection with the armed robbery of the First Community Bank in Bluewell, WV.
photo courtesy: Matt Irvin photo courtesy: Matt Irvin
photo courtesy: Ryan Dye photo courtesy: Ryan Dye
MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVVA) -

Authorities in Mercer County continue to search for a man wanted for the armed robbery of a West Virginia bank.

The First Community Bank in Bluewell, WV was robbed around 2:22 p.m. Thursday by a man armed with a handgun.

According to court documents, the bank robber was wearing a red wig and carrying a purse. He walked into the bank from Nemours Road and handed a teller a note that read "I'll shoot you first with this gun unless you give me all the money in your drawer." 

The suspect left the bank with $1,702 . A witness driving by saw the bank robber run across Route 52 to Nemours Road. The witness pursued the suspect and saw him get in a 90's model SUV. The witness provided the police with a description of the SUV and its West Virginia registration number. The tag number was not on file. 

Officers with the Bluefield, Virginia Police Department located the vehicle on Bluefield Avenue and initiated a traffic stop. At that time the bank robber got out of the vehicle and ran off. A photo of the suspect was released on Friday.

The woman driving the SUV, a Ford Expedition, was taken into custody. She was later identified as Kara Dawn Keen, 29, ob Bluefield, Virginia.

Keen was released from custody Thursday night.

According to Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler, the release of Keen was authorized by a magistrate court judge In Tazewell County, Virginia. We are told the judge released Keen because the paperwork for extradition was not adequate.  Sitler contended there was nothing improper about the paperwork.

Keen turned herself in to authorities in Mercer County Friday morning.  She was charged with armed robbery and conspiracy and her bond was set at $30,000 cash-only. Keen was taken to Southern Regional Jail. 

According to Chief Deputy Joe Parks with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, the handgun believed to have been used in the bank robbery, along with other evidence was found in the Expedition. 


-Posted on Friday, February 9, 2018

A woman detained following the armed robbery of a Bluewell bank was released from custody due to 'improper paperwork.'

According to Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler, the release of a female suspect detained Thursday afternoon in the alleged getaway vehicle was authorized by magistrate court judge in Tazewell County, Virginia. We are told the judge released the female suspect, identified as Kara Keen of Bluefield, Virginia, because the paperwork for extradition was not adequate. 

"I disagree that the paperwork was improper and we're working on getting her picked back up this morning." said Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler.

Sitler said the proper procedure for extradition is to fill out a form to authorize an entry into NCIC (National Crime Information Center) that accompanies the warrant that is signed off on by a judicial officer. Sitler said a Mercer County, West Virginia magistrate signed off on the criminal complaint against Keen.

The First Community Bank in Bluewell was robbed around 2:22 p.m. Thursday by an man armed with a handgun. He is still at large. Investigators have released a photo of the suspect. 

Keen was pulled over by officers with the Bluefield, Virginia Police Dept. at a service station on Tazewell Avenue.

According to Chief Deputy Joe Parks with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, the handgun believed to have been used in the bank robbery, along with other evidence was found in the vehicle; a Ford Expedition, maroon in color.

Look for more information on this developing story as it becomes available.


-Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Police are looking for a suspect wanted for robbing a Bluewell bank.

The First Community Bank in Bluewell was robbed at 2:22 p.m. Thursday.

Multiple law enforcement officers have converged around two gas stations located on Tazewell Avenue near the Virginia/ West Virginia border in Bluefield. WVVA has learned the possible getaway vehicle is a Ford Expedition, maroon in color. The vehicle is now parked in front of one of the two stores.

Police say a female suspect is in custody and a male suspect is still on the run.

"We did a felony stop," said Chief Deputy Joe Parks with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office. "One person was taken into custody, another fled on foot."

School officials in Tazewell County tell WVVA that bus number #76 from Graham Intermediate School was held for a brief period of time due to incident.

WVVA has a crew on scene. Look for more information as it becomes available.

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