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Thursday July 30th, 2015 4:08AM

Suspected UCB robber jailed, possible explosives found

By Rob Moore Reporter
ALTO - The GBI bomb unit completed its work at an Alto home just before 8:30 a.m. Sunday after officers discovered several devices while executing a search warrant there.

Kevin Marsteller, commander of Cornelia Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, said the search followed the arrest of bank robbery suspect Raymond Charles Whitmire in Towns County Saturday night.

Whitmire, who was born in 1957, is charged in the April 26 armed robbery of United Community Bank on 441 Bypass in Cornelia.

"He was picked up last night in Towns County by Towns County deputies," Marsteller said. "We had gathered some information that he was up there. They did a felony stop on him and took him into custody up there."

Upon being notified of the arrest Saturday night, Cornelia officers went to Towns County and brought Whitmire back to the Habersham County Detention Center.

"Right now we've been executing search warrants at his residence," Marsteller said from the scene Sunday morning. "One of the issues is that while at the scene we saw some suspicious packages in there, so we've had the Georgia Bureau of Investigation up here with the bomb squad."

Marsteller said charges related to the devices located could be forthcoming from Banks County Sheriff's Office.

Asked if a grenade was located, Marsteller said, "No, there wasn't a grenade, per se, but there was definitely some stuff that he's going to be charged with under that code section about possession," Marsteller said.

The person who robbed UCB told tellers he had a grenade.

Marsteller said tips from the public helped them reach the point of being able to obtain an arrest warrant for Whitmire Saturday afternoon.

"The investigation is still continuing," Marsteller said.

Marsteller praised both the tips from the public and the inter-agency cooperation in bringing the case to an arrest.

"We've been having to go into multiple jurisdictions, to include Habersham County, Banks County - of course Towns County helped us out - Alto," Marsteller said. "Just these agencies helping out has really furthered the investigation."

In Habersham County, Whitmire is charged with armed robbery.

"I do not know what the exact charges are in Banks County, but the only charge coming out of the armed robbery is armed robbery," Marsteller said.

Marsteller said detectives have worked "relentlessly" for the past two weeks, and will continue to follow up all leads and exhaust all means to bring the case to successful prosecution.
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