Newport News man in custody following bomb threats, bank robbery

Oscar Von Alston. (NNPD)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Bomb threats made to Newport News businesses were linked to a bank robbery that occurred around the same time Wednesday, according to Newport News Police.

Two bomb threats were reported in Newport News just eight minutes apart, but were proven to not be credible. The first came in at 11:32 a.m. for the InTown Suites and the second came in at 11:39 a.m. for the YMCA.

A third bomb threat to the General District Courthouse in Hampton was also attributed to the previous two. The call came in at 11:31 a.m.

At 11:55 a.m., Newport News Communications received an alarm activation at the Virginia Educators Credit Union, and at 11:57 a.m. the call was upgraded to a bank robbery. Officers arrived on scene and spoke to witnesses who stated a male suspect entered the bank, armed with a firearm. He jumped the counter and took an undisclosed amount of money.

At the time of the robbery, five Newport News Public School students were taking a financial class at the bank, but were in a separate room from the robbery. No injuries were reported to bank employees or the students.

Officers conducted a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle in the area of 74th Street and Chestnut Avenue and the suspect, 31-year-old Oscar Von Alston, was taken into custody at 12:08 p.m.

Alston was charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, wearing a mask in certain places, and entering a bank while armed with intent to commit felony. He was also charged by the Newport News Fire Department with three counts of bomb or burn threat by an accused over the age of 15.