NEWS- Attention to detail: City inspector thwarts hold-up
For City zoning inspector Cory Jordan, the morning of June 1 started out like any other. At a little past 9am, he was walking to the Water Street garage from his office in City Hall to get his car to begin his round of inspections for the day. Little did he know he was about to become a hero.
Near the Mall intersection with 4th Street, Jordan noticed a "well-dressed white man" walking towards him.
"I think what drew my attention was that along with a coat and slacks, basic business-wear, he was wearing a light-colored, sort of fancy straw hat," says the 27-year old Jordan, "which is not that out of place in the South, but maybe a bit unusual... enough to draw my eye, anyway."
Earlier, it appears the "well-dressed" man may have had a cup of coffee at Splendora's, as owner Fax Ayres believes their security camera captured the would-be bandit purchasing some java and relaxing at a table with the morning paper.
The security pictures, time-stamped at 8:01am, show a sport coat-clad white male with a newspaper tucked under his left arm. The targeted bank, Union Bank and Trust at 400 East Main Street, is across the Mall from Splendora's.
Ayres says his morning sales clerk, who asked not to be named, sold the suspect a cup of coffee and was then dumbfounded about an hour later to see the customer led out of the bank in handcuffs. However, at press time, City spokesperson Ric Barrick couldn't say for sure if the man captured on Splendora's security camera was indeed Jeffery Alan Adams of Fredericksburg, the man the police eventually nabbed. For instance, the store patron was not wearing the straw hat that Jordan identified.
Jordan says the man was coming toward him heading East, then quickly changed direction and headed toward the front door of Union Bank & Trust.
"Again, that's not that unusual," says Jordan. "I change direction on the Mall all the time when I forget something."
However, as Jordan continued to watch, he saw the man reach behind him as he entered and turn a dead-bolt lock on the bank's door.
"I thought that was rather unusual, so I stayed out in front of the bank and watched what was going on inside," says Jordan. "At this point, I was thinking maybe he was the bank manager and was just locking up for security until the bank opened.
"I couldn't see what the man was doing, because he had his back to me," he says, "but then I saw a man in the back of the bank facing the front put his hands in the air."
As City spokesperson Ric Barrick confirms, the man's hands were in the air because the well-dressed man had pulled a gun and ordered him into another part of the bank.
Of course, at that point Jordan finally realized what was happening.
"I started to run back towards the police station on the Mall," he says. "I wasn't thinking very clearly with all the adrenaline pumping, but I quickly realized that I had a cell phone, so I called 911."
The 911 operator kept Jordan on the phone until police arrived, which Jordan says took about "one minute." He watched from a distance, still on the line with the operator, as police repeatedly ordered the man the get down, then broke the glass door and stormed inside. Once Adams was in custody, the operator told Jordan to hang up and wait for the police to take his statement.
A short time later, the 38-year-old Adams was charged with attempting to rob Union Bank & Trust, according to Barrick.
Barrick says police have also arrested John Joseph Amann of Fredericksburg, presumably the get-away car driver.
As Barrick is quick to point out, Jordan's actions not only prevented a bank robbery, they may also have saved lives.
"I feel a bit embarrassed by all the attention, mostly," says Jordan. "I don't think I did anything particularly heroic. I was just lucky enough to be watching the guy as he entered the bank and locked the door, and, I guess, observant enough to think that was a little odd."
However, Union Bank & Trust vice president Robert Gentry begs to differ. Although Gentry says a bank employee had managed to set off a silent alarm, he called Jordan's actions "absolutely critical."
"He saw it almost before it happened," says Gentry. "An action like that gives you a strong faith in the community, that someone would be paying attention like that."
As for the bank employees, Gentry says they're doing well. "Of course, it's a frightening experience," he says. "But they responded letter perfect."
Jeffery Alan Adams, 38, of Fredericksburg was arrested June 1 for attempting to rob the Mall branch of Union Bank & Trust.
PHOTO COURTESY CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT #