SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — A Social Circle man threatened to infect people in a bank with COVID-19 in a botched holdup last month, the sheriff in Clayton County said.

Sheriff Victor Hill announced the arrest of 51-year-old Victor Hardey Crawley.

Hill said a man went in the Chase Bank branch on Highway 85 in Riverdale on Nov. 28 and passed a note to the teller demanding cash. The suspect didn’t show a weapon but did say he had tested positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus and if the bank didn’t comply with his demands, he would begin to infect everyone inside the branch.

Employees notified the police and the suspect fled without getting any money.

“Evidently he got spooked and left the bank, and we barely missed him then,” Riverdale police Chief Todd Spivey said.

His department responded and after an investigation, identified Crawley as their suspect and obtained arrest warrants.

Spivey said that happened by the use of technology.

“He drives a unique vehicle that’s not seen often around here, and it was in the parking lot of the bank at the time, and one camera identified the type of vehicle,” Spivey said.

That led to another camera that picked out the license plate, which led to Crawley.

Spivey said the description of a white man in a small Fiat car — “like one of those economy electric vehicles,” he said — was unusual for the area.

Crawley came in for an interview with Riverdale investigators but wasn’t arrested then. The Fugitive Squad of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office went to Social Circle late Thursday and arrested Crawley at his home on West Hightower Trail without incident.

He was booked into the Clayton County Jail in Jonesboro at about 1:15 a.m. Friday.

Crawley reportedly told detectives he had fallen on hard financial times and needed about $2,000 to catch up on his bills.

“He needed some money for a particular purpose and he thought he could get it easy that way,” Spivey said.

The chief wasn’t sure of Crawley’s job situation, and didn’t know if Crawley’s claims of having COVID-19 were accurate or not.

Hill said Crawley is now “facing the wall at Georgia’s toughest paramilitary jail.” He remained there Monday evening with no bond set.

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