By David Rogers. September 12, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — His bank robbery in Blowing Rock on Tuesday was likely the last “hurrah” for Edward J. Reynolds, 57. According to accounts by the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader and the Fort Myers (FL) News-Press on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Marshals tried to arrest Reynolds at mile marker 127 on I-75 (northbound) in Scott County, Kentucky. Shots were fired, Reynolds is dead, and a sheriff’s deputy is in critical but stable condition in an area hospital.
COVER IMAGE: The silver Ford Mustang is believed to be Reynolds’ “getaway car” in multiple bank robberies, including in Blowing Rock. Photographic image is a “still” captured from a Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper video by Chief Photographer Charles Bertram.
In addition to the Blowing Rock robbery yesterday, Reynolds is also a suspect in several other bank robberies in 2018, including two reported heists at a branch of Fifth Third Bank in Cape Coral, FL on January 12th and April 16th, as well as a May 30th armed robbery at a BB&T branch in Punta Gorda, FL. Reynolds has been identified by Blowing Rock Police as a resident of Cape Coral. According to Blowing Rock Police, Reynolds was identified by Federal authorities at the Kentucky rest stop. There have been no reports as to who fired the shot that ended his life, whether it was by a law enforcement officer or self-inflicted.
Still images captured from video in the Florida robberies show Reynolds wearing the exact same outfit as was captured on video in the Blowing Rock robbery at the United Community Bank branch: a red shirt with vertical dark blue or black stripes, denim pants, and the same straw cowboy hat. According to Blowing Rock Police, Reynolds was a suspect in armed robberies from Florida to Texas
He was wearing exactly the same apparel as in other bank heists in Florida, including the straw hat.
During the Kentucky attempted arrest Tuesday night, Scott County Sheriff’s deputy Jaime Morales, 28, was reported as critically wounded, shot in the back. The News-Press report listed Morales as having been with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office for roughly two and half years. The arrest attempt occurred at approximately 10:15 pm, the report states. Deputy Morales is in critical condition, but stable condition at the University of Kentucky Medical Center’s intensive care unit.
On Tuesday, after holding up the United Community Bank branch on Valley Blvd. in Blowing Rock and taking an undisclosed amount of cash, Reynolds fled on foot, through the gravel parking lot between Papa Joe’s restaurant and the daycare center and reportedly across the drainage ditch toward Ransom Street. As a consequence, Blowing Rock School was on a lockdown, the crime scene cordoned off, and officers from multiple law enforcement agencies converged on the scene.
One witness reported to Blowing Rock News that money was strewn across the gravel parking lot as the then unidentified robber fled in a hurry. While some suspected that he had a getaway car parked somewhere, officers still were searching houses and buildings in the Ransom Street neighborhood, including under crawl spaces.
He is an outstanding deputy.
In all of the Florida bank robberies, according to the News-Press report, Reynolds’ modus operandi was similar to what we understand occurred at the Blowing Rock bank: He lifted his shirt to show tellers a gun in the waistband of his pants before demanding cash and making off with bills in $100, $50, and $20 denominations.
Given that a deputy was shot in the Kentucky confrontation,and is now in critical condition, we should all be especially thankful that none among our friends and neighbors employed by or visiting the United Community Bank branch were hurt in Tuesday’s robbery.
The Lexington, KY Herald-Leader reported that Morales was in critical but stable condition after his second surgery Wednesday afternoon.
“He has been an outstanding deputy,” Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton told the Herald-Leader. “When we hired him, he came in very professional…his service to our country in the Marine Corps. He is bi-lingual, certified for our courts to interpret and he just carries a lot of qualifications you want to see in a deputy sheriff.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Deputy Morales, his family, friends and his fellow Scott County officers and staff.