Waynesville man identified as suspected bank robber

By Staff report | Jan 03, 2017

The man suspected of robbing an Asheville bank who was arrested on I-40 near Exit 31 Tuesday afternoon has been identified as John Kershaw Barrette, a white male from Waynesville.

Barrette has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, and perpetrating a hoax by use of a false bomb or other device for the incident that occurred at the Asheville Savings Bank at 1012 Patton Ave., in west Asheville.

The investigation revealed that the suspect entered the bank just prior to 11:13 a.m., made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, and left in an unknown direction of travel.

During the course of the robbery, the suspect left what was being described as a suspicious package on the counter. The bank was evacuated and the APD Bomb Squad responded to the scene, evaluated the threat and rendered the device safe.

While this investigation was ongoing, APD became aware of a bank robbery that occurred in Buncombe County’s jurisdiction, with a suspect description similar to the Asheville robbery, according to a news release sent out by the city of Asheville. As events unfolded, APD was notified by Buncombe County detectives that the suspect had been stopped in Haywood County.

The suspect was then transported to the Asheville Police Department where detectives from the Asheville Police Department and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint interview with the suspect.

Anyone with information related to this event is asked to call APD at 828-252-1110 or CrimeStoppers at 828-255-5050.

At the time of his arrest, Barrette was driving a Jeep Liberty with reportedly stolen Florida license plates. Deputies were tracking him via his cellphone. He eventually pulled off to the side of the road on I-40 near Exit 31and attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended.

Prior to his being transported to Buncombe County by deputies, the suspect looked to be unharmed, although he was shirtless. The vehicle had no signs of damage.

Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan said that because the man was suspected of robbing not only a bank in Asheville but also one outside city limits on Smoky Park Highway, his office became involved.

The arrest caused one lane of I-40 westbound traffic to be shut down, forcing backups of about 6 miles.