A city man who police say confessed to being responsible for four robberies in the city from Sunday to Monday told them he was short on money, authorities said Thursday.
“All he told us was he was hard up for money and the idea just popped into his head,” Bristol, Tenn., Police Capt. Charlie Thomas said of the man’s possible motive.
Christopher Michael Vaughan, 33, of Avoca Road, Bristol, Tenn., has now been charged with three counts of aggravated robbery in Tennessee and one count each of robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in Virginia.
The arrests wrap up a case of four robberies in the city in 24 hours, police say, plus an attempted robbery outside city limits. Two convenience stores in Bristol, Tenn., a Scotchman and a Shell/Roadrunner, both on Volunteer Parkway, were robbed at gunpoint late Sunday night by a man wearing a dark blue hoodie and a baseball cap, according to surveillance video.
The next afternoon, New People’s Bank in Bristol, Va., was robbed by a man wearing the same clothing. And, Belmont Package Store, a liquor store in Bristol, Tenn., was robbed late Monday by a similarly dressed man.
Only cash was taken from each business.
Video from the Scotchman on Bristol Caverns Highway later Monday night shows a man who attempted to rob the store wearing the same clothing, but nothing was taken.
Police questioned Vaughan after his arrest late Wednesday, and he “gave a full confession to these crimes,” according to court records.
In addition, they searched his home, just miles from the convenience stores that were robbed, and found “a blue hoodie and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap” identical to the ones seen in the surveillance video. They also found a small black handgun they believe he used in the robberies.
Thursday morning, they searched his car, a Ford Explorer seized for evidence Wednesday night. Inside, they found cash from all four robberies, they said.
“Money belonging to New Peoples Bank was recovered,” said Bristol, Va., Police Sgt. Steve Crawford. “The money was in the thousands … a large portion of it was recovered.”
He would not disclose the full amount, citing the ongoing investigation.
The FBI is involved in the investigation, he said.
Thomas said most of the money was recovered from the robberies in Bristol, Tenn., too, although he also declined to disclose the amount.
“It’s still under investigation, and we’re looking for the rest of the money that was taken,” he said.
Vaughan is a student at Northeast State Community College, according to court records. He has no prior criminal record in Bristol, Tenn., and has been found guilty only of a traffic infraction in Virginia.
He was being held on a $250,000 bond Thursday at the Sullivan County jail. He will appear in General Sessions Court on the three aggravated robbery charges at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
11:31 p.m. Sunday – Scotchman on Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, Tenn.
11:53 p.m. Sunday – Shell/Roadrunner on Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, Tenn.
4:50 p.m. Monday – New Peoples Bank on Commonwealth Avenue, Bristol, Va.
8:57 p.m. Monday – Belmont Package Store on Belmont Drive, Bristol, Tenn.
10 p.m. Monday – Attempted robbery at Scotchman on Bristol Caverns Highway, just outside of Bristol, Tenn.