First Merchants Bank robbed

by Eric Stearley

At 10:19 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, a hooded suspect entered First Merchants Bank, located at 189 W. Market Street, and demanded money. The robbery took just two minutes, and the suspect fled the scene before police could respond to the bank alarm.

Wabash Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Bruss guarded the bank’s entrance following the robbery, informing bank patrons that the bank may be closed for the rest of the day.

"We know that it was a white male, probably around 6 ft tall, maybe a little bit taller, and there was no weapon involved, and he did leave with an undisclosed amount of money, so at that point, we're just trying to determine who we're searching for," said Bruss. "He left the bank on foot, but from there, we're not sure.”

The suspect left the bank at 10:21 a.m., walked through the bank’s east parking lot and continued down the alley toward Miami or Canal St. Police believe he had a vehicle in the area, but it has not been identified

A press release from the police department the following day clarified that the suspect had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket during the robber and could have had a weapon in his pocket, but no weapon was displayed.

This marks the second bank robbery in Wabash County in less than one month. On Jan. 24, First Financial Bank in North Manchester was robbed at gunpoint, an episode that ended with the suspect taking his own life following a brief pursuit on State Road 13.

No on was injured in the most recent bank robbery.

Video taken from bank’s security cameras during the incident confirmed that the suspect's was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and grey pants with a large Ivy Tech logo on the left leg. The suspect was also wearing black shoes with white trim, black sunglasses and black gloves. A second camera located outside Charley Creek Inn showed the suspect walking west on Market Street in front of the hotel just before he entered the bank.

As of 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, authorities had recovered what they believed to be the subject's red hooded sweatshirt on Dora Road just west of America Road.

The suspect had not been identified as of Monday.

“I just spoke with the detective in charge, and we really don’t have anything to add at this time,” Police Chief Larry Schnepp said Monday morning. “If we did, we’d sure get it out there, but we’re still working with what we’ve got.”

If anyone saw the suspect in the downtown area or saw the suspect get into a vehicle, they are urged to notify Detective Captain Jim Kirk or Detective John Krhin at the Wabash City Police Department by calling 260-563-1111.

Posted on 2014 Feb 25