Filing: would-be bank robber had help

Posted: July 2, 2013

The Winchester Star

John Matthew Jenkins
Laurie Cavanaugh

WINCHESTER — A 28-year-old city man and a previously unknown accomplice were granted bonds Monday after attempting to rob the United Bank branch at 1041 Berryville Ave. on Friday.

John Matthew Jenkins and his girlfriend, Laurie Cavanaugh, 34, also of Winchester, appeared separately via video in Winchester General District Court.

Jenkins is charged with attempted robbery, and Cavanaugh is charged with being an accessory to robbery.

They were each granted a $10,000 secured bond. Cavanaugh had posted bond by Monday evening, according to an official at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, but Jenkins had not.

Bank employees called police to the business shortly before 12:30 p.m. Friday for an attempted robbery, telling officers that the would-be robber left the area on foot, according to police spokeswoman Lauren Cummings.

Jenkins was found about 90 minutes later in Winchester and detained at National Avenue and Raleigh Court.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Jenkins attempted to enter the bank while wearing a blue bandana over the lower portion of his face and carrying a dark-colored duffel bag.

“Jenkins was unable to gain access to the bank, since all customers have to be granted access by a staff member,” the complaint states. “The teller, upon seeing Jenkins with his face partially concealed, did not open the door, and Jenkins, after pulling on the door twice, left the bank on foot.”

A witness at the scene, who saw Jenkins and went after him, gave a description of the man to officers.

City police, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a county K-9 unit assisted in the search.

When police arrested Jenkins, he appeared to have changed clothes.

A criminal complaint filed in Cavanaugh’s case states that she admitted to bringing Jenkins a change of clothes, at his request.

She told police that she dropped Jenkins off at the bank and then heard that someone had robbed it.

She said she saw police coming to the area and left without Jenkins.

“She admitted that it entered her mind Jenkins had robbed the bank,” the complaint states.

Jenkins called her later and asked for the change of clothes and for her to pick him up from another nearby business, the complaint states.

She brought him the clothes to a men’s room in the business, which was witnessed by an employee.

The complaint states that Jenkins and Cavanaugh then got into another car — different from the one in which she dropped him off.

“She had arranged to pick them up in this van, then they left the area to go back to the original car,” the complaint states.

Jenkins allegedly confessed to police that he wore the bandana “to conceal his identity with the intent to enter the bank to demand money,” according to court documents.

It remains unclear why Jenkins allegedly attempted to rob the bank.

Court documents state that he makes $700 per week at a job located in Warrenton.

His prior criminal history includes assault, and assault and battery on a family member.

Jenkins and Cavanaugh are each expected separately back in court at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

The alleged robbery attempt took place at the same bank that James Louis Whittlesey, 52, robbed in October 2011.

He was sentenced to six life sentences for robbing five banks in three states.

Whittlesey’s robbery of the United Bank, at the time, was the fourth at the branch in three years.

United Bank has seven branches in the Winchester area.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at