'She was obviously under duress'
A 17-year-old girl was getting into her car in the parking lot of the Michaels store on Watson Boulevard Tuesday afternoon when a stranger did too.
That stranger, later identified as alleged scam artist Frank Garmon Jr., 49, of Warner Robins, is accused of ordering the teenager to an ATM to get cash, according to an arrest warrant.
“She felt intimidated at the time, and she was younger,” Police Chief Brett Evans told reporters Friday at the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center. “It’s very easy to understand that she was scared, and she was going to comply with what he said.”
The teenager drove Garmon to Robins Financial Credit Union on North Houston Road, where he followed her inside.
“She was obviously under duress, and the teller picked up on the fact that something was not quite right, and he obtained one of the managers,” Evans said.
Garmon was initially charged with criminal trespassing and taken to the Houston County Detention Center. He was released on bond about 90 minutes later on the misdemeanor charge, jail records show.
Meanwhile, a police detective had been assigned to the case and began to work it, interviewing the victim and reviewing surveillance video from both the store and the credit union, Evans said.
While Garmon was free on a $780 bond, he allegedly scammed someone out of some cash early Wednesday morning by pretending to be a stranded motorist, according to an arrest warrant.
About 11 a.m. Wednesday, police issued a statement and posted on social media about Garmon as an alleged scam artist, referring to a recent incident in which Garmon allegedly “jumped into the passenger seat of a driver’s car and asked for money.”
Jennifer Parson, the department’s public information officer, said by email that Garmon was wanted on two outstanding warrants on charges of theft by deception.
The alert about Garmon was issued, Evans said, because he wanted to warn the public, get Garmon’s photo out before the public and see if any others had similar experiences recently with the man.
Garmon was jailed late Wednesday afternoon on additional of charges of kidnapping and attempted robbery by intimidation — both felonies— in the incident involving the teenager, according to warrants and jail records.
Additionally, Garmon is charged with one count of theft by deception in Wednesday’s stranded-motorist case by allegedly using “deceitful means” to get someone to give him $60, according to the warrant.
On Sept. 8, Garmon is accused of getting $70 from another person by allegedly claiming he needed money for a locksmith and would pay the person back within the hour, a warrant said. He was also charged with misdemeanor theft by deception in that incident.
Garmon has been in and out of prison since 1991, having been released this summer on July 14, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website. He was not on probation or parole, having served all of his time, Evans said.
Garmon most recently had served time for a robbery by intimidation conviction in Houston County. He’s also served prison time for robbery by sudden snatching, shoplifting, theft by taking and entering auto, the website shows — all Houston County convictions.
Additionally, Garmon was sentenced to a year of intensive probation for a felony drug charge, according to a timeline of Garmon’s conviction provided by Warner Robins police.
Garmon was being held at the jail without bond Friday.