photo by: Robert A. DeFrank
Two men are in custody following a bank robbery in St. Clairsville that led to a police pursuit on Interstate 70 on Monday afternoon.
City Police Chief Matt Arbenz shared details of the initial report.
“Shortly after 1 p.m., a single suspect entered Premier Bank at Plaza West across (from) Riesbeck’s (Food Market) and presented a note to the teller. The note said that he had a weapon and that he demanded money. The teller gave him money and he left the scene. She got a good description of what he was wearing and the vehicle that he was driving,” Arbenz said.
He said no weapon was displayed.
“The first officer on scene reported that intel and within a matter of minutes the vehicle was spotted on I-70 headed west. When law enforcement got close to the vehicle, the driver sped and tried to flee. The pursuit led to Guernsey County, where it crashed and two suspects were taken into custody without injuries,” he said, adding that police from St. Clairsville, the Belmont and Guernsey County sheriff’s offices, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the FBI were involved in the pursuit.
Arbenz said the chase ended on Slaughter Hill Road and law enforcement used various methods, including spikes and roadblocks, to stop the vehicle, a Nissan sedan.
Arbenz said the men were arrested shortly after 2 p.m. He said their names and other information about them were not yet being released Monday.
“Where they came from and where they were going to remains to be seen. They weren’t local,” he said. “It’ll take a day or two for things to shake out.”
The amount of money taken also is not being released yet. Bank employees have been interviewed by law enforcement.
He said the incident remains under investigation. The car will be searched, and the men may be transported from Guernsey County, where they are being held, back to Belmont County. He is in contact with the FBI.
“I would imagine there’s a good possibility it might roll into a federal case,” Arbenz said.
The St. Clairsville branch of Premier Bank was closed following the incident. The Wheeling office of the FBI did not respond to calls seeking comment.