Police: Suspected bank robber killed in crash in Nash County

Man suspected in bank robberies in Catawba and Rowan Counties
Thomas Ketelsen, 60, is suspected of robbing a bank in Catawba County and a bank in Rowan County.
Thomas Ketelsen, 60, is suspected of robbing a bank in Catawba County and a bank in Rowan County.(WBTV File)
Published: Mar. 13, 2022 at 12:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A man who was suspected of robbing several banks, including one in Catawba County and one in Rowan County, was killed in a crash in Nash County following a police chase.

Thomas Lester Ketelsen, 60, of Conover, North Carolina, died after a “forced stop” by a sheriff’s deputy. The incident happened just after 10:30 p.m. on Friday. The sheriff’s deputy conducted the maneuver with his patrol car on Interstate 95 because the Ketelsen was allegedly driving at dangerous speeds in his small SUV and would not pull over, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said at a news conference.

Ketelsen ran his small SUV off the road and ended up against a tree. Two deputies rendered first aid and CPR, according to the sheriff.

Ketelsen was suspected in a bank robbery that happened on Wednesday at a Truist Bank in Catawba County. Police responded to a call of the robbery at 1:55 p.m. at the Truist Bank on 1st Avenue S in Conover.

According to law enforcement, the suspect handed the bank teller a note demanding money. The teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and they left the bank.

On Thursday morning an F & M Bank on Jake Alexander Blvd. in Salisbury was robbed. The suspect in that robbery fit the description of the robbery in Conover. The vehicle description was also similar.

Authorities also said that Ketelsen was involved in several bank robberies in South Carolina, including the one at South State Bank in Summerville Friday. A fugitive warrant was issued to the U.S. Marshals Service for Ketelsen, who was already on federal probation for previous convictions.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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