Chase leads to arrest of man wanted in two Washington bank robberies

Michael Ojay Branch (Washington Police Department photo)

WILLIAMSTON, Martin County - The Martin County Sheriff's Office has taken a suspect into custody that was driving a vehicle that matched the description involved in a robbery Friday afternoon in Beaufort County.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office, the Williamston Police Department and the N.C. Highway Patrol were involved in the incident, which began just after 3 p.m. Deputies attempted to stop a white Ford truck with "Fear This" on the front windshield. The vehicle matched the description of one used to rob the State Employees Credit Union on West 15th Street in Washington.

A chase ensued and ended at the intersection of Main Street and South Watts Street after the vehicle collided with another. The suspect, Michael Ojay Branch of Williamston, was taken into custody at around 3:18 p.m. All of the other individuals involved in the crash were taken to Martin General Hospital.

Washington Police said the robbery happened at 2:42 p.m. Officials said the suspect entered the credit union and presented a note demanding money. The suspect left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was seen.

Washington Police said Branch was also identified as a suspect in the April 6 robbery of First Bank in Washington.

An investigation into the pursuit is being handled by the Williamston Police Department while the bank robbery is being investigated by the Washington Police Department. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Beaufort County District Attorney's Office and the FBI are also involved in the bank robbery investigation.

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