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Friday, October 12th, 2012

Man forced to withdraw funds

Celina

By Margie Wuebker
Celina - Police continue to investigate a Tuesday morning incident that involved a 77-year-old man allegedly being forced to drive to a bank and withdraw money.
Paul Billerman, 608 Hoying St., told authorities a man came to his front door about 6:30 a.m. and he permitted him to enter. The man told Billerman he had a weapon and wanted money.
The men drove around in Billerman's car for some time, waiting for the Chase Bank drive-thru lane to open. Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser said the pair also stopped at a local business so the suspect could purchase cigarettes.
"We have him on surveillance footage from the business," Slusser said. "He had on a hooded sweatshirt drawn close about the face."
Billerman drove to the bank with the suspect in the front seat and withdrew an undisclosed amount of money. He then drove to the area of West Logan Street near the Celina Wine Store and the suspect left on foot.
A patrolman reportedly saw Billerman's car on the road near the Wine Store about 8:45 a.m.
Slusser said the victim later called the bank to report he had been robbed and a bank official notified police.
Police went to the home and found Billerman visibly upset. The alleged weapon is believed to be a gun or a knife.
"The suspect never brandished a weapon," the police chief added. "And he was never violent toward Mr. Billerman."
Billerman was unable to offer police a physical description of the suspect or estimate his age.
The investigation is continuing. Police encourage anyone who spotted a man in a dark blue or gray sweatshirt and jeans walking in the vicinity of West Logan and Stella streets about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday to call them at 419-586-2345.
"We have a lot of unanswered questions at this point and maybe someone saw something that can help us," Slusser said.
The police chief also issued a warning to area residents. He said the suspect likely needed money for an addiction and may try the same technique to get some money.
"People out there are desperate to feed their habit," he said. "Keep your doors locked and don't open them to anyone you don't know. If you spot something suspicious, call us because that's what we're here for."
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