Virginia man charged with stealing missing Raleigh man's SUV, whereabouts of 39-year-old still unknown

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Authorities have arrested a man connected to the disappearance of William Anderson Banks Jr.

Justin Fernando Merritt was charged with robbery, larceny of motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the stolen vehicle, Banks' 2011 Range Rover. Merritt, 34, was taken into custody in Danville, Virginia.

"The investigation by the Raleigh Police Department determined that the vehicle might be in this area," said Major Timothy Jones of the Danville Police Department. "We supported them in locating the vehicle, and any information on the investigation will have to come from the Raleigh Police Department."

Merritt is inside the Danville City Jail. When will police travel to Virginia and bring him back to Wake County?

"That'll be up to Raleigh," said Major Jones. "He has waived extradition, so as soon as they can make arrangements, he will go back to North Carolina to face those charges."

Justin Fernando Merritt was charged with robbery, larceny of motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.



According to the Wake County DA's office, Merritt will be extradited from Virginia on Wednesday.

Banks, known as "Andy" to his friends, was last seen around Woodburn Road close to Cameron Village in Raleigh on Saturday afternoon. The Raleigh Police Department said the investigation and search for Banks continues and anyone with information that may help in locating him should call 911.

Banks had recently posted an ad on Craigslist for a 2011 Range Rover Sport. One of his friends told ABC11 on Monday that he was supposed to show the car during the weekend to someone he met on the website.

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Raleigh police originally said they were looking for the silver Range Rover in connection with the man's disappearance but announced Monday afternoon that it had been found in Danville, Virginia. Banks was not in it and was still missing.



The 911 caller who reported him missing said Banks was going to sell the car and then walk to his friend's apartment complex nearby but never showed up.
"I can see on his text messages that he last checked his phone at 1:42 p.m.," the caller said. "He has not looked at his phone since then. His battery is on and it's ringing and all that."

Cliff Cash, a friend of Banks, drove in from Wilmington on Monday to help search for the man.

"Their family is just literally the best people you could ever hope to meet. Genuinely incredible people," he said. "I don't know that I'll be able to do anything much that will make any kind of difference but it feels better to do this than to sit around and wait to hear something."

Raleigh Police originally said they were looking for the silver Range Rover but announced Monday afternoon that it had been found in Danville. Banks was not in it and is still missing.
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