KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – According to the Knoxville Police Department, investigators are working a bank robbery investigation at a SmartBank in West Knoxville. So far, investigators do not have anyone in custody.
According to the FBI, a SmartBank employee, his wife and infant were kidnapped between 8 and 9 a.m. on Tuesday. The husband was forced to rob the SmartBank and was left in the parking lot of the bank. His wife and baby were dropped off unharmed on Fox Road near Cedar Bluff.
Agents say this case is similar to one that happened in April in West Knox County, and it’s a “good possibility” the two cases are related. During that incident, an employee with Y-12 Federal Credit Union and the employee’s family were threatened in an attempt to get money from the credit union.
The suspects are two men – one is described as being between 6’1 and 6’2, thin build. The other is between 5’9 – 5’10, stockier build. FBI agents say it’s a possibility the two men are related. They both spoke clear English and wore masks. FBI says they were armed with a rifle and each had a handgun.
The FBI says the family’s silver Mazda was seen driving erratically from the Rocky Hill area to Cedar Bluff, causing several drivers to honk.
If anyone witnessed this vehicle or had contact with this vehicle, they are asked to contact the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-7212.
Neighbors identified the couple as Tanner and Abbey Harris. They said Tanner Harris works at SmartBank and Abbey Harris works at West Town Mall.
“She’s extremely brave. I don’t know what I would do in that situation. I’ll have to give them a lot of support. They’re a great family, wonderful people. My heart just reaches out to them,” said Amy Lavelle, a neighbor.
A Comcast worker on 123 Fox Road off of Cedar Bluff said the woman driving a silver car drove up, honking her horn and screaming. He noticed she had a baby on her lap. She said she was kidnapped at gunpoint along with her husband. She told the worker someone forced her husband to rob the bank where he works and she was able to escape with her baby.