By MARGIE WUEBKER
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.
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
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