SPENCER BANKER VIVIDLY RECALLS ROBBERY - Incident Occurs In Calhoun Resident's Office


Bank officer and county commissioner David Boothe
survived after a bank robber held a straight razor to
his throat at the Traders Bank last week (Photo by David Hedges)

Banker vividly recalls robbery

By David Hedges Publisher

Not every person who has had a straight razor held to their throat during a robbery attempt would feel the same, but David Boothe considers himself a lucky man.

The executive vice president of the Traders Bank in Spencer was in a co-worker's office last Thursday morning when a man walked in and grabbed him from behind.

"I think his intent was to slit my throat from ear to ear," said Boothe, who is also a Roane County Commissioner.

The 60-year-old Boothe said at first he thought it was only someone playing a joke.

Then he heard the person behind him say that this was a bank robbery.

"He said 'I'm not kidding. This is a bank robbery. I have a straight razor to your neck'," Boothe recalled.

"I looked down and sure enough he had a razor to my neck."

For the next three minutes Boothe said it was all he could do to hold the man's hand back to keep him from cutting his throat.

"I was literally fighting for my life," he said.

Boothe pushed so hard he popped a rib he had cracked during a fall last winter.

"It took all the strength I could muster, and the good Lord, to hold him back," Boothe said.

Boothe, who actually works in an annex behind the main bank building, had entered the bank just before noon, and just before the robbery attempt.

He had gone to the office of chief financial officer Martha Haymaker, an office that has a window looking out on Main Street.

He sat down in front of Haymaker's desk and had been in her office only about 30 seconds when he felt someone brush against his right shoulder.

Then he felt someone reaching around him as if they were going to put him into a headlock.

"Thankfully I was able to get my hands up to cover my throat," he said.

As Haymaker tried to calm the man down, Boothe said the man told them he had a gun in his hip pocket.

The man asked Haymaker to give him some money. When she answered that she didn't have any money, he repeated his demand a second time.

"I said I had some money," Boothe said. "My goal was to hold him off and save my life."

At that point Boothe said the man released him.

Boothe reached into his pocket for his wallet and counted out all the money he had, $63 in all.

"I said 'Is that enough?' and handed it to him. He said yeah."

The man told Boothe not to follow him as he went out the back door.

Boothe was cut twice during the incident — on the right index finger when the struggle began, and again on the back of the same hand as the man was releasing his grip.

Neither cut was serious, although the one on the back of his hand did bleed profusely because a vein was cut. He was treated at the hospital emergency room and released.

"I've had worse cuts in a briar patch," Boothe said.

Boothe said this was his first experience with a robbery in his 42 years of banking. The Traders branch in Ripley was robbed a few years ago, but Boothe was not in the bank at the time.

"I'm just thankful that if it had to happen, it happened to me," he said. "If he had come into Martha's office and I hadn't been there, it could have been a much worse scene."