As we celebrate the wonderful fathers in our lives, I’d like to outline an awful one example of one.
The Pembroke man charged with robbing a Radford bank on Thursday had recently launched an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign asking the public to help a “single father of three.”
Bradley Paul Wimmer, 34, was arrested inside the Christiansburg Olive Garden restaurant hours after police began searching for a suspect in the reported bank robbery. Police said the suspect had a gun and got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
Christiansburg police found Wimmer inside the restaurant, unarmed and eating with three children, according to town spokeswoman Allison Long and Olive Garden spokesman Rich Jeffers. Wimmer was taken into custody without incident.
Less than a month prior, a GoFundMe page was posted in Pembroke under the name Bradley Wimmer. It contains a photo of Wimmer posing with three children.
Wimmer’s estranged wife, Lauren Cole, told The Roanoke Times Friday that the children on the GoFundMe page are the separated couple’s kids. She said they haven’t lived together for seven years, and three years ago Wimmer was able to take custody. Ever since, Cole said she has been fighting to get her children back.
Cole said she now lives in Florida. She said she is traveling to Virginia as she tries to figure out where her children are now.
Radford Police spokeswoman Jenni Wilder said police found no reason Wimmer should not have the children at the time of his arrest. They were placed in a “safe environment” and social workers were made aware of the situation.
The crowdfunding page describes Wimmer as a single parent who ran into hard times and needed money to “keep us afloat.”
It reports the father holds a commercial driver’s license, but his parenting duties make it “almost impossible to support us with the small amount of time I have for work.”
The page goes on to say the man was recently in a car accident and is hoping to change careers with the dream of becoming a physician. The page reports he had an opportunity to receive a nursing license for free at the end of June, “but that will take time awau [sic] from being able to work.”
The campaign was launched on May 26 and sought $3,500. As of Friday morning, no one had contributed.
The investigation that led to Wimmer’s arrest began when an armed robbery was reported at Radford’s Carter Bank and Trust in the 1900 block of East Main Street around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Police released a surveillance photo as they searched for the suspect, describing him as a man wearing a green mask and sunglasses. He was considered armed and dangerous.
The Radford City Police Department eventually provided information to Christiansburg Police that the man may be at Olive Garden, according to Long.
Wimmer was arrested around 6 p.m. He’s charged with burglary, grand larceny, robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to Wilder.
The majority of the stolen money has been recovered, Wilder said.