LAFAYETTE — DNA on a discarded glove near the scene of an attempted bank robbery led investigators to the man accused of calling in a bomb threat at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to distract police while he attempted to rob the bank.
The FBI on Tuesday announced the arrest of Devin Haywood, 30, of Lafayette, in last week’s bomb threat at UL-Lafayette — a hoax designed to distract authorities while he tried, unsuccessfully, to rob the MidSouth Bank in the 2800 block of Moss Street.
Haywood was on parole after serving about eight years of a 10-year sentence for a 2005 bank robbery in Jefferson Parish.
DNA taken from him after his conviction on that charge matched DNA pulled from a glove that, along with zip ties, was found in a discarded gym bag near MidSouth Bank last week, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Investigators said security video shows the robbery suspect discarding the gym bag while running from the bank after the botched robbery.
Haywood was linked to the bomb threat at UL-Lafayette through cellphone records.
He is accused of making a call to TV station KATC about 5:30 a.m. July 16 to report two bombs, one at Girard Park and another at or near the UL-Lafayette campus.
Agents obtained the cellphone number from that call and determined the phone associated with that number was purchased from a Wal-Mart on Evangeline Thruway on July 15, a day before the bomb threat.
Agents then obtained security video of the person who bought the phone and compared it with an image of Haywood after linking his DNA to the discarded glove.
“Based on initial inspection, that image of Haywood apparently matched the person in the Walmart video,” the criminal complaint states.
After making the call, Haywood began making his plans for the “early bird robbery” of MidSouth Bank, said Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft, adding that criminals sometimes approach managers and employees as they’re opening their business for the day.
Haywood was first seen about 5:40 a.m. on security video from MidSouth, where he allegedly hid behind an air-conditioning unit until two bank employees arrived about 7:20 a.m., according to the federal criminal complaint.
The two employees, one on foot and the other in a car, were conducting a security sweep before opening when they spotted someone with a gun.
The employee in the car drove away, and the other employee ran to her car and also drove away, with the man believed to be Haywood chasing her on foot before fleeing the scene.
No bomb was found on the UL-Lafayette campus, but the threat and the discovery of a suspicious device at Girard Park about 7:30 a.m. that morning prompted the evacuation of the campus — the first full-scale evacuation of the university, UL-Lafayette Police Chief Joey Sturm said.
Numerous agencies assisted with the search of the campus as more than 200 law enforcement officers responded to the incident on July 16. The financial impact of the hoax is unknown at this time, Sturm said.
The hoax disrupted summer classes and summer camp, as well as scheduled orientation for incoming freshmen, he said. All personnel also were placed on paid, emergency leave.
Sturm said Haywood was not a UL-Lafayette student and he was not aware whether Haywood had any prior connection to the university.
Haywood’s arrest was announced during a news conference held Tuesday with representatives of the numerous law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation, including the FBI, Lafayette Police, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police.
The bomb hoax was an attempt to divert or delay police response to the MidSouth robbery attempt, said Donald Bostic, an FBI supervisor senior resident agent.
“When the bank robbery attempt was made, there were numerous law enforcement resources being expended to the campus,” Bostic said after the news conference. “Lafayette (Police) maintained complete coverage within the city, so their patrol units were able to respond as normal.”
Haywood’s arrest comes a little more than a year after his May 2013 release after serving time on charges of armed robbery, aggravated battery and illegal possession of stolen things in a June 2005 bank robbery in Gretna, according to records from the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court.
According to news reports at the time, Haywood and another man stole almost $92,000 after forcing their way into the bank just before it opened, and Haywood shot one of the tellers, who survived.
Haywood served about eight years of a 10-year sentence and was released early under the state’s “good time” law for good behavior. He was to be under parole supervision through June 2015, according to the Department of Corrections.
But on Monday, Haywood was arrested outside his Fieldspan Road home and booked into the St. Martin Parish jail. He faces federal charges of attempted bank robbery and using a facility in interstate commerce to willfully make a threat or maliciously convey false information.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on the bomb threat charge and up to 20 years in prison on the attempted bank robbery charge.
Bostic said the investigation of Haywood isn’t over and he could face additional charges.