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The Daily



10-21-03: Gunman sought after robbing Chickasaw bank


CHICKASAW — The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the Lima office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate an armed robbery that occurred Monday afternoon at the Osgood State Bank branch office in Chickasaw.
A lone male suspect, brandishing a gun, entered the bank around noon and demanded money from an unidentified teller, Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard. There were no other customers inside at the time. The employee complied and was ordered to lie down on the floor while the robber made his getaway.
Grey said investigators do not know in which direction the man fled or whether he had a vehicle parked somewhere in the village that spans both sides of Ohio 274.
Some bystanders wondered aloud whether the suspect ran north, crossed Wayne Street and then darted into a cornfield. Many people locked their doors fearing the robber might barge in at any moment.
Lunch customers at the nearby Town Tavern learned of the robbery just about the time they settled down to hot soup or hamburgers and french fries. Some ran to the door to catch a glimpse of marked cruisers with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
“This is the most excitement we’ve had in these parts for quite a while,” employee Bud Mescher said. “Customers coming in are talking but no-body seems to know nothing.”
Bank representatives reportedly visited the establishment this morning asking customers whether they had seen anything suspicious or anyone new in the area. Osgood purchased the former Community First Bank site and opened under the new name Sept. 11.
Mescher said some folks noted the presence of a car bearing Kansas license plates in a nearby parking lot Monday morning. The same vehicle apparently visited Maria Stein and Osgood the same day, but bank officials apparently believe the car has no connection to the robbery.
Grey declined to comment on the amount of money involved. However, he labeled rumors the thief left with only rolls of coins false. The number of employees on the premises at the time also was unavailable due to security concerns.
The bank, located at 79 W. Franklin St. (Ohio 274), remained off limits late Monday afternoon as yellow crime scene tape ringed the perimeter. FBI officials as well as agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification worked inside processing evidence. It reopened for business this morning.
“Our employees handled the situation very well,” bank President Roland “Brownie” Thobe of Maria Stein said this morning. “We offer training on what to do in situations like this, and they did all the right things.”
Surveillance cameras inside the bank did pick up the robber, and the FBI is reportedly enhancing the images prior to their release. Based on those images as well as evidence obtained at the scene, Grey is hopeful the joint investigation will lead to an arrest.
The suspect is described as a white male between the ages of 30 and 40, standing 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches and weighing 150 to 170 pounds. He reportedly has dark hair as well as a moustache and goatee. He wore blue jeans, tennis shoes, denim-type jacket, sunglasses and a dark baseball cap.
Anyone who saw a man fitting that description should call the sheriff’s office at 419-586-7724 or the Lima FBI office at 419-223-7761.
Bank robberies are not frequent occurrences here in Mercer County. This marks the first in the sheriff’s 20 years of law enforcement service. Detective Kip Wright believes the last ones occurred in Mendon in the mid-1970s and in Fort Recovery in the early 1980s. Thobe said a previous robbery occurred in 1971 at the bank’s Osgood headquarters.
— Daily Standard reporter Janie Southard contributed to this story.


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