Upstate man chases bank robbery suspect

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate man is in jail accused of robbing a bank.

It happened at the First Citizens Bank in Lyman Wednesday morning, and the suspect was caught in Wellford.

Now we’re hearing from the man who chased down the accused robber.

“I was coming out of the parking lot when I noticed the guy come bursting out the bank wearing a ski mask [and] had some bags in his hands,” said Justin Norton. He said he was leaving a store across from the Edgewood Street bank when his day took quite the turn. “When you get in that situation, when you see something like that.. I didn’t know what to do.”

Lyman police say Justin Ashley Bott went up to the bank tellers, and had them fill two plastic bags with money before he fled.

Justin Ashley Bott (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)
Justin Ashley Bott (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)

Norton says after spotting the accused robber driving off, he took off after him in his own vehicle.

“Followed him, I called 9-1-1, [and] told them every single way we turned,” Norton recalled.

During that time a Wellford police officer caught up with the chase and tried pulling over the vehicle.

“I wouldn’t want to get away with something,” said Norton. “A lot of people get away with stuff these days.”

Wellford city officials say the chase ended at the intersection of Main Street and Simmons Street when Bott crashed his vehicle.

Wellford officials say a state trooper was hurt in the process, but it wasn’t life threatening.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” said Norton. “Just to know what he could’ve done in the bank. I didn’t know what happened to the people in there. He could’ve hurt someone. People have family and children, I have three kids. If something happened to me or my wife, I’d want somebody to do something.”

All the money was recovered, according to police.

Bott is charged with bank robbery, reckless driving, resisting arrest and blue light violation.

As of Thursday morning, he was in the Spartanburg County Detention Center under a $45,440 bond.

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