Man shot in reported gold store robbery linked to recent Dickson Street bank robberies

Nathan Harold Chism, 2009 booking photo
Nathan Harold Chism, 2009 booking photo

The man arrested after being shot in a reported robbery at Arkansas Gold and Silver Exchange on Tuesday has now been linked to two recent bank robberies on Dickson Street.

Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor on Friday afternoon announced that Nathan Chism, 32, is now charged with three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted capital murder.

According to police, Chism was arrested on Tuesday, June 21 at Arkansas Gold and Silver Exchange, 1722 N. College Avenue, after he stabbed store employee Christopher Leach during a robbery. Chism was shot by Leach during the robbery and remains at Washington Regional Medical Center where he is receiving treatment for gunshot wounds.

Leach has since been released from the hospital.

During the investigation of the gold store robbery, police recovered evidence linking Chism to the June 16 robbery at Bank of America at 703 West Dickson, and the May 6 robbery at Bank of Fayetteville at 542 West Dickson.

Tabor said the investigation is continuing and that his department will provide additional information as it becomes available for release.

Preliminary police reports

The following are the unedited, preliminary police reports issued with Friday’s news release

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the Fayetteville Police Department received a 9-1-1 call from 1722 N. College, suite “B” The caller said he had shot one white male who was trying to rob the store. The store is the “We Buy Gold and Silver” store. The caller said a male suspect, later identified as Nathan Chism, had entered the store and produced a folding knife. He was trying to get Leach to give him the money from the cash safe or drawer. The victim, Chris Leach, said Chism began chasing him in the store, attempting to stab him with the open knife. Leach told Chism he had a gun and to stop or he would use it. Chism managed to stab Leach one time. Leach was able to draw his handgun and fire two shots. Both shots struck Chism in the torso. When Chism fell to the ground, Leach was able to get to the phone and call 9-1-1 for help. When the call was made, Leach explained what had taken place. When initial officers arrived, they confirmed Chism was no longer armed and allowed emergency medical personnel to enter and treat him. Both Chism and Leach were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Prior to leaving the scene, Chism was placed under arrest and an officer was assigned to guard him until his discharge from the hospital. The investigation is ongoing.

On 6/21/11 at approximately 4:24 pm FPD officers responded to 1722 N. College for a reported robbery attempt at the Arkansas Gold & Silver Exchange. It was reported that a white male walked into the store and asked if the manager was available. The white male then produced a knife and announced to the employee that he was robbing the business. The suspect chased after the employee with the knife swinging it at him. The suspect stabbed the employee in the shoulder and was then shot by the employee two times with a pistol he carried for protection. When officers arrived they discovered the suspect Nathan Chism w/m 4/2/79 laying in the floor with gunshot wounds. Chism was wearing a long sleeve shirt, jeans, and Adidas running shoes. Chism also had in his possession a debit card that belonged to his girlfriend. These items were collected for evidence along with a padded manila envelope carried in the store by Chism. A handwritten message demanding money was visible on the outside of the envelope as well. Also located at the scene was the vehicle registered to the ex-husband of Chism’s current girlfriend. The vehicle was towed to a secure location to be searched at a later time upon requesting a search warrant for it. Based on the evidence collected at the scene, investigators felt that Chism was a person of interest in the bank robberies that previously occurred in Fayetteville on 5/6/11 and 6/16/11. The Bank of Fayetteville Train Bank was robbed by a white male wearing dark clothing , a stocking or skull cap and glasses on 5/6/11 at approximately 8:50 am. The suspect walked into the bank briefly before quickly leaving. When he returned approximately 15 minutes later he approached the teller carrying a padded manila envelope. The suspect spoke in a low tone to the teller and gave her the envelope with a handwritten demand on it. The note told the teller to put the money in the envelope quickly. The suspect spoke in a low tone and purposely kept his head down during the robbery before leaving with cash. The note in that robbery matched the description of the one discovered at the Arkansas Gold & Silver Exchange brought in by Chism. On 6/16/11 at approximately 10:06 am a white male wearing a black and gray fleece jacket, stocking cap, jeans, and running shoes walked in the Bank of America at 703 W. Dickson Street. The male was carrying a padded manila envelope when he approached the clerk and gave it to him. The suspect demanded the teller give him money and put it in the envelope. The teller remembered writing on the envelope but was unsure what it said exactly. The clerk asked the suspect if he was serious and the suspect grabbed the envelope and left the bank without obtaining any money. Just as in the Bank of Fayetteville robbery, the suspect had walked into the bank earlier for a short time before leaving and then coming back to commit the robbery.

Investigators were able to locate Chism’s girlfriend and she agreed to speak with them about him. The girlfriend had been dating Chism since 5/3/11 and approximately one week later they moved in together. She said that she worked in Fayetteville and Chism would drive her to work every morning around 8 am and keep her car to pick her up at 5 pm when she got off. The girlfriend seemed genuinely surprised and unaware of Chism’s activity in relation to the robbery at the Arkansas Gold & Silver Exchange. When shown a security photo image of the suspect from the Bank of America robbery, the girlfriend became emotional and started to cry. I asked her if she recognized the subject in the photo and she said yes. She said that the subject in the photo was her boyfriend Nathan Chism. She based it on his facial features particularly his nose and mouth. She said that she had never seen the clothes that he was wearing in the photo though. On 6/23/11 a search warrant was obtained and served on a 09 Scion TC registered to the girlfriend’s ex-husband and driven by Chism to the Gold & Silver Store. Located inside the vehicle was the jacket and stocking cap worn by the suspect in the Bank of America robbery. Also located in the vehicle was a backpack of Chism’s that contained a plastic gun and wig in it. These items along with a laptop computer were seized for evidence. Later that afternoon Chism’s girlfriend provided me with two Facebook photos showing Chism wearing the fleece jacket and tennis shoes from the Bank of America robbery. Based on the physical similarities along with actions of the suspect in both the Bank of Fayetteville and Bank of America robberies and the physical evidence collected, Nathan Chism is responsible for both bank robberies that occurred in Fayetteville on 5/6/11 and 6/16/11. Chism is currently unable to speak with investigators due to his injuries sustained in the robbery at the Arkansas Gold & Silver Exchange.