Armed Robbery Suspect, Brother Of Missing Suspect, In Court

Brandon Bell, the brother of a man who lawmen are still searching for in and around the Roanoke River after a robbery was in court Thursday.

Bell is one of three people charged with last Thursday's robbery at Motorcycle Dreamz in Pitt County. He turned himself in. Thursday morning he was assigned an attorney. Lawmen are still looking for his brother Roland Bell who the family calls Joey. His sister, Angela Carey, spoke to WITN about what her family is going through, with one brother in jail and the other still missing.

"We're all absolutely torn apart and we all believe the same thing, that we find Joey and that Brandon get out of this mess," said Carey.

Brandon Montanye of Virginia was arrested shortly after the robbery. Deputies say they searched in and around the river again Thursday for Roland Bell. Brandon Bell's next court date is set for may 19th.

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The brother of a man who authorities say jumped in the Roanoke River after an armed robbery and chase was in court today.

Brandon Bell is one of three people charged with last week's robbery at Motorcycle Dreamz, a Pitt County motorcycle shop, early Thursday morning.

In court Thursday morning, his next court appearance was set for May 19.

His brother, Roland, is still missing after deputies say he jumped off the Senator J.J. "Monk" Harrington Bridge at the Martin-Bertie county line after a 38 mile chase.

Lawmen say they are still looking for Roland Bell.

Brandon Montanye of Virginia was apprehended shortly after the robbery Thursday morning.


Previous Story

it's day six of a search for an armed robbery suspect who led lawmen on a 38 mile chase last week.

Deputies say Roland Bell wrecked a stolen motorcycle on the Senator J.J. "Monk" Harrington bridge over the Roanoke River last Thursday morning. Construction workers say the man then jumped into the river as lawmen approached the scene.

Bertie County Chief Deputy Greg Atkins says Monday they search around 20 miles downstream for Bell. Authorities say the man either drowned in the river or managed to escape to the shore.

Atkins says Monday was really the first day they thought the body would surface, and those odds increase with each day.

Deputies from Bertie and Pitt counties continue their search today, and they expect state wildlife officers to help again.

Bell, along with his brother and another man, are accused of robbing Motorcycle Dreamz, a Pitt County motorcycle shop, early Thursday morning.


Previous Story

It's another day of searching for an armed robbery and chase suspect who lawmen say jumped into the Roanoke River last Thursday.

Roland Bell was being chased by Pitt County deputies after they say he was involved in an armed robbery at a motorcycle shop early Thursday. Workers say he crashed a stolen motorcycle at a bridge construction site at the Martin-Bertie county line and then jumped into the river as deputies approached the scene.

Bertie County Chief Deputy Greg Atkins says boats went back into the river Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. The search right now centers from the Hamilton boat ramp to the bridge, but Atkins says they might expand it Tuesday if they don't find Bell today.


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Crews were back out on the Roanoke River Sunday searching the water for an armed robbery suspect who officials say jumped into the water after a chase Thursday. Officials say there is still no sign of that suspect, Roland Bell.

Deputies say Bell and two other men robbed a Greenville motorcycle shop Friday. Then they say Bell led them on a 38 mile chase until he wrecked the stolen bike on the Highway 11 bridge that was undergoing construction near the Bertie-Martin county line. Construction workers say the man jumped into the river after the accident as lawmen were approaching the bridge.

Officials were using Sonar equipment to try and find Bell Sunday afternoon. They searched from around 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Crews say they will be back out Monday morning to continue searching.


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There's still no sign of an armed robbery suspect following an all day search Friday.

Pitt County deputies consider Roland Bell armed and dangerous after they say he led them on a high speed chase which began in Pitt County and ended up at the Martin-Bertie county line when he crashed a motorcycle and jumped in the Roanoke River.

The search was halted Thursday due to bad weather, but resumed Friday morning. A Bertie County rescue boat, a state wildlife boat, along with a Highway Patrol helicopter, spent most of the day searching downstream from the Senator Monk Harrington Bridge. A ground search with deputies from Bertie and Pitt counties was also conducted but so far there are no signs of Bell.

They say Bell and two other men robbed a Greenville motorcycle shop. Employees say Bell used to work at the business.

Deputies say Bell led them on a 38 mile chase until he wrecked the stolen bike on the Highway 11 bridge that was undergoing construction. Construction workers say the man jumped into the river after the accident as lawmen were approaching the bridge.

Bertie County deputies say they may use a boat equipped with sonar on Saturday to search the river.

Bell's brother Brandon is still on the loose. A third suspect, Brandon Montayne, has been arrested.


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The search continues for an armed robbery suspect who jumped into the Roanoke River early Thursday morning, after police say he helped rob a motorcycle shop in Greenville and led police on a high speed motorcycle chase.

Tracy Foster lives in a building on Motorcycle Dreamz's property, and watches over the shop. He says early Thursday morning, 3 men busted into his room with guns and threatened him.

"They said if you don't go along with me, something will definitely happen to you - we'll do something to you," said Foster.

Foster and Motorcycle Dreamz employees say the men stole 2 motorcycles, various keys, and a tool box with thousands of dollars worth of tools inside.

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office says the men escaped in a black pick-up truck with an attached trailer. Deputies say they followed the truck, pulled it over and arrested Brandon Montanye of Virginia but say Roland Bell sped away on one of the stolen motorcycles. They say 38 miles later, Bell crashed the motorcycle on a bridge on the Martin-Bertie county line and jumped into the Roanoke River.

Deputies from all three counties are continuing to search for Bell, and say they're not sure whether he managed to make out of the water because of the swift current.

"Search and rescue at this time. And basically collect evidence too - if we received where he maybe made it to a bank and tried to change clothes, or any evidence he may leave behind - he may have a weapon he may try to discard," said Sheriff Neil Elks.

Susan Ghrist works at Motorcycle Dreamz. She says Bell used to work there, and was fired last year.

"Jeff fired him for stealing, and he's been back several times and threatened Jeff that he was going to get revenge on him," said Ghrist.

Sheriff Elks says deputies are working to confirm that, and says Bell - and the other unidentified suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

Ghrist lives right next door to the motorcycle shop, and says she's worried the robbers will be back.

"For one, we're going to change the locks on the Motorcycle Dreamz and then try to set up some kind of wire with a bell going from here to my mobile home so that if anyone breaks in, it sets off an alarm in my place," said Ghrist.

Deputies say Bell was last seen in the river about 100 yards from the bridge. They say they recovered one of his shoes and his helmet.

They say they believe all three men were heading to Virginia, and say they're not sure where the third suspect is at this time.

Deputies say Montanye is charged with first degree burglary, breaking and entering, and robbery with a dangerous weapon. They say Bell and the other suspect will likely face the same charges, and say Bell will also face other traffic charges.


Previous Story

The Pitt County Sheriffs Office says crews plan to resume searching
a section of the Roanoke River at the Bertie-Martin County line later today after the man they were chasing at high speeds jumped off the bridge to the water below.

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office says they are searching the river for Roland Bell. Search crews have recovered the helmet Bell was wearing. They say construction workers on the Highway 11 bridge saw Bell jump into the river, after he crashed into a wheelbarrow in the construction zone on the bridge.

Lawmen believe Bell is one of three men who robbed Motorcycle Dreamz on Highway 43 near Greenville overnight. Deputies say the owner of the bike shop lives on site. When he confronted the intruders, they pulled a gun and stole two motorcycles, various tools and a toolbox with thousands of dollars inside.

Officials received a call of an armed robbery at the bike shop 1:30 a.m. The suspects escaped in a black, low-ride pick-up truck with an attached trailer.

At 2:30 a.m. a deputy near North Campus Crossing spotted the truck. He pulled over the truck and arrested the driver, Brandon Montanye of Virginia.

Click the photo tab above to see Montanye's mug shot.

Lawmen say Bell was on a stolen motorcycle and deputies started chasing Bell near DSM Pharmaceuticals in Greenville, and the chase moved north on Highway 11 at speeds topping 100 miles per hour at times. The chase continued for 38 miles before Bell crashed at the bridge.

Bell was last seen swimming in the water below, about 100 yards from the bridge. The Hamilton Fire Department used two boats to search for Bell, but called off that search just after 5 a.m. They planned to return later in the day.

Another suspect in the robbery at Motorcycle Dreamz remains at large and has not been identified by deputies, with the possibility of a fourth. Officials say lawmen are actively searching for them.

It appears the suspects were headed to Virginia after robbing the bike shop, officials said.

Traditionally, searches for people in the Roanoke River have proved difficult, even for highly-trained dive teams. In 2009, when the Bertie County Sheriff's Office was searching the river after finding a floating car near Windsor, a dive team from South Carolina had to abort the search. It took another dive team, from Norfolk, VA, to complete it.

"It's not a river you would want to fall into," said Jean Richter, a biologist with the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge.

Richter says the water is at least 20 feet deep at the bridge where Bell jumped into the water, and she estimates it's a 20 - 25 foot drop from the bridge to the river.

Surviving the drop into the Roanoke River is one thing, but Richter says the real danger lies beneath. The river floor is covered with woody debris that could easily entangle or injure someone in the water, especially in the dark of night. The banks of the Roanoke River are lined with trees that are underwater that can also prove dangerous trying to get out of the water.

The pace of the Roanoke River is not particularly swift for what the river is capable of, Richter says. Today, it's moving at a rate of 9,000 cubic feet/second.

"It's a river that definitely needs to be respected," Richter said.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Concerned on May 24, 2011 at 09:05 AM
    What is wrong with you incompassionate people. Every body is somebody. We are not all alike. But we have no right to speak so ill of a person or their family. If the truth be told. There is bones (skeletons) is everybody's closets. So don't be so quick to thorw stones if you are living in a glass house. People care about their loved ones no matter what happens in their lives.
  • by <3 on May 19, 2011 at 03:14 PM
    What happened in court today ?
    • reply
      by update on May 21, 2011 at 09:27 AM in reply to <3
      Both Brandon Bell and Brandon "Tyler" Montanye are both out on bond and back in VA until their court dates. Roland "Joey" Bell is still missing. I would love to hear an update on the search for Joey. Today is 23 days and we are all really concerned about where he could be.
  • by Angela on May 18, 2011 at 02:57 PM
    Tomorrow is 3 weeks, where are you, Joey? We all miss and love you!
  • by Still Location: Grieving on May 15, 2011 at 08:57 AM
    To the family, I am sorry for what you are going through. I just buried my daughter last month, and I know the anguish that you are feeling right now. I dont know if they have found your loved one or not, but I am praying for you guys strength in this time. It is never easy to have a child missing and not know where they are, but then to find out like I did that your child had died is even more a horrific ordeal for any parent to go through. Whether the child was good or bad. Whether the child made mistakes in life or never been anything but upstanding NO MATTER WHAT THAT IS STILL YOUR CHILD and your heart aches when they are taken from you. To all the people who keeps posting negative comments remember no matter what you believe the BIBLE is still right. YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU SOW. Remember that because you could be in the same shoes as this family one day.
    • reply
      by sarah on May 16, 2011 at 09:59 AM in reply to Still
      thank still the family need more of these postive comments im turely sorry about your daughter i pray that u get though this hard time and i pray the same to my family my cuzins are good people even though they have made bad choices i hope more people can can be like you a post warm kind comments like you have this is wat the family needs at a time like this so thanx
  • by sarah Location: nc on May 12, 2011 at 06:38 AM
    its been 2 weeks and they still havent found my cuzin i hope and pray that he got out safe and is just hiding some where the family could not handle thinking about the worse i get up here every day hoping that he is found or that someone has seen him joey if ur out there your family loves and misses you very much
  • by river monster Location: lewiston on May 11, 2011 at 08:34 PM
    uncle goat died in the swamp from his injuries along with the tick bites , mosquito bites , red bugs,and the water moccosin that bit him .He has now become a meal for the maggots , flies and other animals such as the bear, wolves , coyotes,deer , rabbit squirell and the ground hog along with the skunk. So he is gone because he commited suicide esentially when he jumped into the roanoke river for it has no mercy on any man especially the fools who think they are mightier than she is.
    • reply
      by the family on May 12, 2011 at 10:32 AM in reply to river monster
      thank you for your warm regards
  • by Angela on May 11, 2011 at 05:23 AM
    Joey, you are missed more than you can imagine. I hope that you are found soon and safe. Your girls need you, we all need you. Bam will be coming home today and we are hoping for a swift and fair trial that will clear all 3 of you of "armed robbery." Thank you to all the law enforcement agencies that have been so diligent in the search for not only Joey but the truth.
    • reply
      by sarah on May 11, 2011 at 07:58 AM in reply to Angela
      omg so bam got out thats great news so now all we need is to find joey alive and safe this would be a pray come true
  • by family on May 10, 2011 at 06:30 AM
    the bikes were joeys in the first place and 2nd joey is the kinda person who hates the cops i mean who doesnt? even if joey is being pulled over for speeding he is still going to run in just in his mind that he has to do that yes we no he could do better but the thing we are worrying about is that he is found alive and safe the family is going though alot with bam in jail and joey missin so when you write comments up think about if this was your family!!
    • reply
      by More warped on May 10, 2011 at 07:37 AM in reply to family
      Again, most families do not have multiple thieves running around committing crimes, so excuse the lack of remorse. Also, since you guys 'hate the cops', it is no wonder a life of crime is your 'thang'. It explains your warped sense of life perfectly. So, Joey went to get his 'bikes' at what time? Hmmm.... a little late to get your property ehh? Disregard the law, do your own thing, and pay the price, whether jail or death. Matter of fact, it's no wonder they are criminals, for they are surrounded by those who have no respect for the law, or themselves. The family should be ashamed for raising kids with no morals or values.
      • reply
        by Family on May 10, 2011 at 09:40 AM in reply to More warped
        To assume that the entire family "hates the cops" is warped of you. I am their older sister and have nothing but respect for law enforcement and have never been in trouble. "No wonder they are criminals" - you should "be ashamed" for not knowing anything about how they were raised and putting it on the family that is hurting so badly right now.
        • reply
          by Read the post on May 11, 2011 at 04:54 AM in reply to Family
          Ummm, actually, according to the family post above on May 10 @ 9:30.... it says....."joey......hates the cops I MEAN WHO DOESN'T?" Well..... I guess a family of thieves would hate the law. The fact that you all are fronting for thieves says plenty about their upbringing. Shameful.
        • reply
          by Clarifying on May 11, 2011 at 05:21 AM in reply to Family
          I can read, thank you for the recap. I did not write that post nor can anyone speak for the entire family. I, however, am the one is helping the detectives on a daily basis in a resolution to this and would never "front for thieves." I am just saying it is wrong for anyone to make assumptions on the entire family based on what one family member says or does. Mind your business.
    • reply
      by sarah on May 10, 2011 at 09:54 AM in reply to family
      family i agree my family is going though alot everyone is hoping that joey is alive and safe and that bam gets out of this me and the family are tired of people commenting say rude stuff and saying that were making excuses for them if this was your family no matter what they did you would have there back 100% well if you loved them as much as we do their not bad kids yes they do make bad choices but that has nuttin to do with the way they were raised my aunt kathy did everything she could to make them the best but she cant control their choices if she could im pretty sure she would theres people out here that do so much worse then wat they did and yall are all wish joey and bam the worse? remember this is someone family we have feeling to!!
    • reply
      by river monster on May 11, 2011 at 08:36 PM in reply to family
      thats why he is DEAD he was a whimp
      • reply
        by UGHH on May 22, 2011 at 06:13 PM in reply to river monster
        Whimp = hiding behind a computer screen and wishing someone else's loved one dead. pathetic.
  • by Angela on May 9, 2011 at 03:43 AM
    Day 11 - I hope Joey is found safe and sound! I also hope that Tyler and Bam receive justice in a system that is holding them imprisoned for crimes not committed. For all involved, this is a nightmare - no other way to put it. WITN - please update the search status. Does anyone still care that Joey is missing?
    • reply
      by Denial on May 9, 2011 at 05:10 AM in reply to Angela
      I'm wondering if denial rules your day? You guys keep saying they are innocent without one fact to support your statement. Do innocent people run from the law? I think not. Either state your facts or quit saying they are innocent.
      • reply
        by FACTS on May 9, 2011 at 05:53 PM in reply to Denial
        Have already posted the facts BUT since you apparently can't read, here they are again: They took what was rightfully theirs. They did not have a weapon. They did not break in. The chase was not from a "robbery" but from someone who enjoyed a chase. Is he guilty of that? Yes. But nothing more.
        • reply
          by Warped Family on May 10, 2011 at 06:24 AM in reply to FACTS
          What a warped family you must be. Denial is your best friend. You may be able to convince yourselves of those silly excuses, but the legal system sees it much differently. You have provided SPECULATION....NOT FACTS. Considering your past posts, you probably don;t know the difference. They went in the middle of the night to get 'their' stuff? That's normal. Oh, he enjoyed the chase? On that STOLEN motorcycle? Sounds fun! That means he was loving the chase right into the river too? Sure does sound like a great time! I sure hope, for your sake, the lawyer has a better defense than that.
    • reply
      by I Care on May 9, 2011 at 10:46 AM in reply to Angela
      I look for a update on here atleast 3 times a day their are people out there that couldnt want more then this nightmare to end. I hope Joey is found safe and soon and Bam and Tyler receive justice quickly. Please WITN update any info
    • reply
      by sarah on May 10, 2011 at 06:33 AM in reply to Angela
      hey angela i get up here every day like 3 times day and everyday i hope that he is found alive and safe ive prayed many times and i will do it every day untill he is found i also hope and pray that bam gets out of this and soon so if any one out there doesnt care i no me and the rest of this family does!!
  • by Anonymous on May 8, 2011 at 10:02 PM
    I hope for the family's sake and for the sake of joey's lil girls (whom are apart of my family) that he is found alive!
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