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Friday, May 6, 2016

Bank robbery foiled ... by locked door

Friday, June 8, 2007

A locked door foiled an attempted robbery at the Center Point branch of Riddell National Bank Thursday morning.

Around 9:15 a.m., a white male wearing a dark-colored ski mask attempted several times to forcibly open the locked front door of the bank. When tellers wouldn't open the door, the suspect, who never showed a weapon, left the scene in a late model, white, four-door compact vehicle, according to eye witnesses.

Because there was no money taken, no damages to the building and, most importantly, no one was injured during the incident, Center Point Branch Manager Gail Weaver first contacted Senior Vice President and Security Officer Steve Kidwell at the main office of the bank in Brazil first and then contacted the Clay County Sheriff's Department.

Kidwell said the employees followed protocols that have been in effect at the small-town branch for more than 10 years.

"The bank has been previously robbed before some years ago, so the doors are locked during business hours," Kidwell said. "Only customers that tellers know are allowed inside. The bottom line is, if that door hadn't been locked the bank would have been robbed."

Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Doug Barr agreed.

"Historically, bank robbers prey on small banks in remote locations," Barr said. "This probably wasn't a local person."

Barr commended the bank for having the foresight to have implemented a locked-door policy and having well-trained employees.

"The employees remained calm and gave very complete and detailed descriptions of the suspect," Barr said. "They really did a great job."

During questioning of the witnesses, officers were able to gather the following details: The suspect, who remains at-large, is a white male, 5'7"-5'8", approximately 30-40 years old with a medium build.

Although he wore a ski mask while attempting to force the locked door of the bank open, Barr said one distinguishing feature on the suspect could lead to someone being able to recognize him, possible scarring around his right eye.

"When the suspect couldn't obtain entry through the bank door, he leaned forward with his face on the window to look inside," Barr said Thursday afternoon. "A witness said there appeared to be scarring or some type of damage on the suspect's face around the area of the right eye hole of the mask."

Last seen wearing a navy blue or black ski mask with a dark colored jacket, the suspect drove away from the scene. Witnesses were unsure what make or model the vehicle was. No license plate information is available, however, a red emblem was observed on the grill by a witness.

While law enforcement officials investigated the attempted robbery, the bank remained open for customers.

"The most important thing to happen today was our employees and customers remained safe," Kidwell said. "Everyone went home at the end of the day."

Indiana State Police have issued a state-wide bulletin with the suspects description. No weapon was displayed by the suspect during the robbery attempt, but authorities are considering the suspect to be armed and dangerous.

Barr said if you see the suspect and/or his getaway vehicle, do not try to approach, call 911.

Anyone with information about this attempted bank robbery, know the whereabouts of the suspect or the suspect's vehicle, please contact the Clay County Sheriff's Dept at 812-446-2535.

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