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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.