Two armed home invaders took a Tennessee bank executive and his family hostage Tuesday morning, herded them into the family car and forced the executive to rob the bank where he works while his family was held at gunpoint, reports say.
Tanner Harris, the first vice president at SmartBank, was taken hostage with his family inside their Knoxville home. The masked robbers -- armed with what was described as two handguns and a long gun -- blindfolded and handcuffed Harris and his wife Abbey, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The robbers then forced the couple and their 5-month-old into the family's car and took off to the local bank.
The robbers drove the couple to the branch where Harris works and ordered the executive to take an undisclosed sum of money from the bank while his family was held in the car. Harris handed the men the money and the two gunmen drove off with his wife and infant still inside the car. Harris was left standing in the bank parking lot.
Abbey Harris and the Harris' child were driven to an abandoned dirt road in West Knox County and left unharmed in the car. The mother then drove to a construction site, where she dialed 911.
"She's extremely brave. I don't know what I would do in that situation. I'll have to give them a lot of support. They're a great family, wonderful people. My heart just reaches out to them," Amy Lavelle, a neighbor, told WKYT.com.
Ed Reinhold, the FBI special agent in charge of the Knoxville office, said it's possible the kidnappers are the same people who kidnapped a credit union CEO's family three months ago.
"There are very strong similarities between the two robberies," Reinhold told The Knoxville News Sentinel. "We haven’t determined that positively, but it is a good possibility."
The suspects who kidnapped the CEO's family were described as two white men. One was described as being about 6 feet, 1 inch tall. The other is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall with a stocky build. Authorities said the two men may be related.
The FBI said a car that matched the description of the family’s Mazda was seen driving erratically around the time of the reported robbery.
Investigators told WATE.com that they believe the suspects were watching the family for a while.