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05-13-06 St. Marys bank robbery suspect caught

By Tim Cox

  A convenience store video security camera helped authorities nab the man suspected of robbing the Community First Bank & Trust Co. branch in St. Marys earlier this week.

  Travis M. Smith, 32, was arrested without incident following a traffic stop at 4 p.m. Friday in Marion, where he lives. Smith is being held in the Marion County jail on one count of bank robbery and one count of burglary of a pharmacy, but FBI officials plan to charge him with five counts of bank robbery in federal court early next week. Two of the counts involve bank robberies in Marion, two in Kenton and this week's hold-up in St. Marys.

  Smith is believed to be the man who walked into the St. Marys bank at 1210 Celina Road on Tuesday, brandished a handgun and demanded money. He fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money and no one was injured. There were no customers in the bank at the time.

  Authorities believe Smith's car was parked nearby, which allowed him to get away.

  St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven said Smith has a criminal history but could not cite specific convictions.  Smith was picked up due to some keen detective work by local authorities. Investigators came up with a license plate number for their suspect after reviewing the videotape from a camera at Pak-A-Sak. The fuel station/convenience store and bank are less than a quarter-mile apart on Celina Road.

  Foxhoven said his office developed and printed photos of the suspect, the vehicle he was driving and sent them to Marion police authorities Friday morning.

  Marion law enforcement located the car and placed it under surveillance. When Smith returned to his car, they executed a traffic stop and took him into custody without incident.

  Foxhoven said he is very pleased with the work that his officers did and of the contribution they made to investigation and arrest.

  FBI officials already had connected the suspect that appeared on the bank's security video to the man they were seeking in a string of other robberies. FBI Agent Pat Pape confirmed Friday that federal charges will be sought against Smith in the string of robberies, Foxhoven said.

  The last armed robbery in St. Marys took place in 1999 at a former Burger King restaurant. A city resident was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for that crime.

  -- Daily Standard staff members Pat Royse and Shelley Grieshop conbtributed to this story.


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