ODU student accused in Norfolk bank robbery, bomb hoax

Norfolk
ODU student accused in Norfolk bank robbery, bomb hoax

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A 19-year-old ODU student arrested for robbing a Norfolk bank on Wednesday told police she had a bomb, which ended up being a hoax, police say. 

The robbery was reported around 10:35 a.m. at Southern Bank, located between 48th and 49th streets, just blocks away from Old Dominion University’s campus.

The suspect, Symphany S. Dawson, was taken into custody nearby in the 800 block of West 48th Street near Killam Avenue without incident, but police say she was carrying a suspicious package. 

An ODU spokesperson confirmed to 10 On Your Side Dawson is a student at the university.

Tellers told responding officers that Dawson had implied she had a bomb when she robbed the bank while wearing a mask moments earlier. 

The Norfolk bomb squad was called in and the roadway was closed for several hours before the package was deemed a hoax around 1 p.m.

Detectives say Dawson, whose last address is the 1000 block of West 39th Street, was taken to the Norfolk City Jail without bond. So far she’s been charged with one count of robbery, wearing a mask in public, threaten to bomb and possession of a hoax bomb. 

Dawson was arraigned in court on Thursday on the four felonies. She is a sophomore at ODU, and refused a request for an interview.

James Jobe, who is an ODU student that lives near the bank, said, “I got a text from ODU saying there was an incident at 48 and Colley, stay away from the area.”

Monique McNealy lives on 48th and saw it all unfold. “There was a fire truck, then came the bomb squad, gang unit, everyone was in and out of the bushes, and they had a bomb dog sniffing too.”

The bomb turned out to be a hoax. Dawson lives at The Next at ODU, and security is tight outside.

“I just talked to one of the managers here, and they informed me you need to leave the property.”   

We had to remind the security guard we were on a public school, and we were going to stay.  We asked scores of students, and not one recognized the picture of Dawson.

Student Tyler Rowe didn’t recognize the picture of Dawson, but said, “It’s kind of sad. I mean you go to college to get an education to make money, and not to steal it.”

Student Anthony Burr said, “I am surprised an ODU student would even do something like that … she does not look familiar to me at all.”

On her Facebook page, Dawson says she is in nursing, but an ODU nursing school spokesperson did not recognize the name, saying that is not unusual because Dawson is a nursing student intend. She is intending to join the nursing school, but students do that when students are juniors, and according to court paperwork Dawson says she is a sophomore.

Dawson is back in court on May 16, and remains in jail without bond. 

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