Man accused of calling in bomb threats as distraction to rob Newport News bank

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News man who was arrested for allegedly robbing a bank is also accused of calling in bomb threats in Newport News and Hampton as a distraction Wednesday morning. 

“I could not be more impressed and more happy with the result,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew.  “I’m thankful no one got hurt.”

Newport News police say 31-year-old Oscar Von Alston II called in the bomb threats before walking into a Virginia Educators Credit Union in the 800 block of Main Street with a gun, just before noon. 

Police headed to the scene after the bank’s alarm was activated. It was later upgraded to a robbery call.

Witnesses told police a man, believed to be Alston, jumped the counter inside the bank and took an undisclosed amount of money. 

During the time of the robbery, there were five Newport News middle school students taking a financial class in a separate room than where the robbery is reported to have taken place. 

Police say there were no injuries to the employees or to the students. 

According to court documents, Alston left the scene on a bicycle. He later got into a vehicle in the area of Bellwood Road. 

“I think the tellers did an outstanding job with the description they were able to give out,” Drew added. 

Police arrested Alston during a traffic stop when the suspected vehicle was spotted near 74th Street and Chestnut Avenue shortly after the robbery.   

Alston has been charged with two counts of robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, wearing a mask in certain places and entering a bank armed with intent to commit a felony in Newport News. 

The Newport News Fire Department has also charged Alston with three counts of bomb/burn threat and the Hampton Police Division says Alston was charged with two counts of threatening to bomb in their city. 

“That’s something we see in Hollywood right?” Drew asked.  “That individual has something well thought out and he put something into play.”

Michelle Price, Director of Public Information and Community Involvement at Newport News Public Schools, said the students that were at the bank during the time of the robbery were from Crittenden Middle School.

They were at the bank as part of the schools’ SPARK program, Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge, according to Price. The individual students’ parents were notified by the school about the incident. 

Court documents state Alston admitted to detectives during questioning that he robbed the bank and made the bomb threats, in addition to a bank employee positively identifying him as the suspect. 

Alston is said to have called in bomb threats to the InTown Suites in the 1100 block of Jefferson Avenue, the Tom and Ann Hunnicutt Family YMCA in the 7800 block of Warwick Boulevard, the Hampton General District Courthouse and an Embassy Suites in Hampton, according to court documents. 

The court documents also state he attempted call in a bomb threat to Christopher Newport University, but he said no one answered the phone. 

“In his mind I guess he felt he would be able to have a better advantage of committing this robbery and fleeing,” Drew said.  “It just didn’t work out this way.”

Alston is behind held in the Newport News jail without bond.  He declined 10 On Your Side’s request for an on camera interview. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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