Chocowinity Police: second suspect acted as lookout in bank robbery

Published 6:09 pm Monday, August 5, 2019

A second suspect has been charged in relation to a robbery at CresCom Bank in Chocowinity on May 28.

On Friday, the Chocowinity Police Department, assisted by the FBI and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, charged Rajae’ Laylon Barnes, 23, of Chocowinity, with robbery with a dangerous weapon. Police say Barnes acted as an accomplice to Michael Donnell Moore, 26, of Raleigh, in pulling off the robbery.

“He was in the bank at the time of the robbery posing as a customer, so he was an accomplice in that manner, as a lookout or distraction, whatever you want to call it,” said Chocowinity Police Chief Ralph Whitehurst.

After the robbery, Whitehurst said investigators took a witness statement from Barnes, who remained at the scene of the crime. Because Barnes allegedly acted as an accomplice in the robbery, he faces the same charges as Moore, Whitehurst said.

“It’s almost like the theory of acting in concert,” Whitehurst said. “It’s just like if you have a robbery somewhere, and you have somebody driving the car who never went into the place that was robbed, they’re still charged with the same thing, because they were acting in concert with the other person.”

Moore and Barnes both grew up in the Chocowinity area and were friends prior to the robbery, having met through church, Whitehurst said. Whitehurst said there are still some lingering questions before the investigation wraps up entirely.

“There may be a couple more items we’re looking into,” Whitehurst said. “We’re just waiting to put some stuff together to see if there are any more. That’s going to be the bulk of it, but there may be some other factors involved with it that may lead to some other individuals we may need to talk to.”

Moore, who was charged on July 19, was apprehended after tips from the community identified him in surveillance photos from the bank. He was processed at the Wake County Magistrate’s Office and was placed on a $125,000 secured bond for charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and making a false bomb report in a public building.

Barnes, who was apprehended by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, was held in the Pitt County Detention center under a $200,000 secured bond.