A man with a handgun robbed First State Bank of more than $5,000 in Ripley on Monday morning, November 30.
At 11:19 a.m., the Brown County Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a First State Bank employee, describing a robbery that had just occurred at their location on 101 Main St.
According to the audio from the 9-1-1 call provided by the Brown County Communications Center, approximately $5,300 was stolen from the bank. The employee described the suspect as a six-foot-tall white male with a bandana over his face, wearing a black sunglasses and black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up over his head, and displaying what looked like a handgun tucked into his pants.
According to the employee, the suspect opened up his bag and told the bank teller to “give me all you’ve got.”
The employee also described the suspect wearing a blue vinyl backpack. Following the robbery, the suspect allegedly escaped in an west of Main Street, traveling north. No one was injured and the suspect did not discharge the weapon, according to the employee.
“We were dispatched down to a 9-1-1 call from one of the tellers saying they’ve been robbed,” Corporal Joel Barnett said. “We arrived on scene and in the area within a couple of minutes. We spoke with a few witnessess, people standing outside, neighbors, and a couple of people said they saw someone shoot down the alley.”
According to Barnett, after leaving the scene of the crime, the suspect discarded many of the clothes he was wearing including a pair of brown tan boots, a black hooded sweatshirt, and a bandana or mask. In addition, a fake handgun was found in the vicinity of the clothing and its believed to be the one displayed by the suspect during the bank robbery.
Barnett said that all the physical evidence siezed will be sent to a lab to be analyzed for DNA and fingerprints from the person of interest.
Following the robbery, police units were warned that there may be two suspects and they may have left in a gray minivan that was parked by McDaniel’s Auto Body, according to the incident run sheet prepared by the Brown County Communications Center.
The run sheet also added that a witness saw a subject strip off the subject’s clothing outside the minivan. By 11:57 a.m., the clothing was located.
The Ripley Police Department and Brown County Sheriff’s Office both responded to the scene, and the Russellville Police Department BCSO were dispatched to keep an eye on the roads. Detectives from the BCSO and an investigator from the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force were dispatched to help in the investigation.
“They have a person of interest they’re looking at down there,” BCSO Chief Deputy Carl Smith said in a phone interview. “Our office did offer assistance to the Ripley Police Department.”
The person of interest is one that’s known to both Barnett and the Ripley Police Department, though he would not disclose the name as it is an open investigation.
“We’re just waiting for him to pop up (on our radar),”Barnett said. “We spoke with the (suspect’s) parents and the parents don’t know where he is, they don’t have his cell phone. We’re doing some more investigation on him and even looking on Facebook. Right now, I know the guy fairly well, I know the family, and with his background I wouldn’t put it past him to do this.
“His girlfriend is still local too, but we have not been able to contact her either. But she has family here, I know her place of employment, I spoke to her mom and her dad to see if we can make contact with her.
“We’ll get (the suspect). We’re confident. It’s hard for him to get away with it. All the info we’ve got as of what he was wearing, that led us straight to where we found the physical evidence.”
Phone calls to Ripley’s First State Bank branch were referred to First State Bank President Michael Pell. Pell did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“We continue to have a very safe, secure location,” said Marketing Manager Ellie Zint. “We’re very confident in law enforcement associations investigating it further.”
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the robbery suspect, you can send in tips at the Police Department’s hotline 937-392-4169 or e-mail Barnett at firstname.lastname@example.org