A Carroll County, Va., man was being held in the Surry County Jail Wednesday for allegedly robbing the actress who played Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show” earlier this week.
Betty Lou Lynn, 83, whose character Thelma Lou was the girlfriend of Deputy Barney Fife on the long-running series, said in a 2008 interview that she moved to Mount Airy the year before to get away from crime-infested Los Angeles after living there for decades.
Then this past Sunday afternoon while at New Market Crossing Shopping Center on Independence Boulevard, the retired actress was victimized by a crime here.
A man grabbed Lynn’s wallet from her hands at the shopping center just before 4 p.m. and fled. The wallet contained $130, according to a Mount Airy Police Department report.
Police were notified and after a short foot chase, the robbery suspect was caught under a bridge on West Pine Street near the location of the crime, arrest records show.
After a brief investigation, Shirley Walter Guynn, 45, of 88 Childress Lane in Cana, Va., was charged with common-law robbery, a felony, by arresting officer R.T. Bledsoe. Guynn was confined in the Surry County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond, and was still being held there Wednesday evening, according to a jail spokesman.
Arrest records indicate that $43 of the $130 taken from Lynn was recovered.
Lynn, who resides on Ridgecrest Lane at a local retirement village, could not be reached Wednesday for comment about the incident.
But in the September 2008 interview conducted in conjunction with Mayberry Days in Mount Airy that year, Lynn said she had moved to “Mayberry” after becoming fed up with crime in Los Angeles. She reported being victimized by a series of incidents.
“I’d been robbed on the street twice, and once in a department store,” Lynn said during the interview.
Her home also was broken into during a visit to Alabama by the veteran actress, who said the final straw came when the residence was illegally entered again while she was here for Mayberry Days.
Before moving to Mount Airy in January 2007, the elderly woman said the situation had reached the point where she feared she might get physically hurt by criminals in addition to having her valuables stolen.
Guynn is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on the robbery charge on May 12.
Contact Tom Joyce at email@example.com or at 719-1924.