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State/Region

December 30, 2013

Robbery suspect had 2010 arrest

PHOENIX — A man suspected in a weeklong bank robbery spree that spanned from Georgia to Arizona and included the shooting death of a Mississippi police officer was arrested in 2010 after making online threats against the president, a Secret Service spokesman said Sunday.

Mario Edward Garnett was living in Oklahoma City at the time of the arrest, Secret Service spokesman Max Millien said. He would not say how the case was resolved.

Authorities have connected Garnett to a Dec. 23 bank robbery attempt in Atlanta, a bank robbery later that same day in Tupelo, Miss., and the shooting death of one officer and the wounding of another just after the Tupelo robbery.

A Phoenix detective shot and killed Garnett just after he robbed a bank Saturday morning.

Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said at a Sunday afternoon news conference that the 40-year-old Garnett was from the Midwest, had served for four years in the U.S. Army and appeared to have no friends or relatives in Arizona.

Earlier Sunday, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Jackson, Miss., said that records showed the suspect’s cellphone was in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tupelo at the time of each incident.

The agent, Daniel McMullen, also told reporters in in Tupelo that there were “numerous similarities” between the three bank robberies, including the clothing worn by the suspect, statements he made during the incidents and his “overall modus operandi.”

Surveillance photos from the attempted bank robbery in Atlanta showed a man wearing a black-and-white patterned jacket tried to rob a Bank of America branch around 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 23. He was wearing a black ski mask and black gloves and carrying a handgun.

After failing to get any money from a teller, the man demanded and received an undisclosed amount of money from someone who was using an ATM in the bank’s lobby. The man was seen leaving in a light gray car with no license plate.

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