His mask wasn’t about COVID: Man, 65, from Purvis accused of robbing Hattiesburg bank

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A 65-year-old man wearing a face covering to conceal his identity is accused of robbing a bank in Hattiesburg Friday. 

Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said Lee Austin Brister of Purvis was charged with armed robbery and booked in the Lamar County Jail Friday evening.

The robbery occurred at the Hancock Whitney Bank on U.S. 98 in Hattiesburg just before 1 p.m. Surveillance video shows a man wearing a dark colored T-shirt, shorts and yellow gloves enter the bank with a red and black bag.

The man was also wearing a baseball hat, sunglasses and what appears to be a bandanna that covered most of his face. 

Rigel said the man did not have a weapon. He passed a note to the teller demanding cash.

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The man then drove away from the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in a newer model Toyota Camry with no license plate. Rigel said a witness took a picture of the vehicle which was later determined to be a rental. 

The sheriff said Brister was arrested at his home in Purvis around 5:15 p.m. Authorities recovered evidence of the robbery, although Brister would not confirm the bank’s money was recovered. 

Rigel said Brister has no previous convictions. 

“We’re in a difficult time now. Everyone is wearing a mask. I would hate to be a clerk at a gas station or liquor store. You just don’t know,” Rigel said. 

Contact Justin Vicory at 769-572-1418 or [email protected] Follow @justinvicory on Twitter.


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