picture by: Robert A. DeFrank
Two men are in custody following a bank robbery in St. Clairsville that led to a police chase on Interstate 70 on Monday afternoon.
City Police Chief Matt Arbenz shared details of the initial report.
“Shortly after 1pm, a lone suspect entered Premier Bank in Plaza West opposite (of) Riesbeck’s (Food Market) and presented a note to the cashier. The note said he had a gun and was asking for money. The cashier gave him some money and he left the premises. She got a good description of what he was wearing and the vehicle he was driving,” Arbenz said.
He said no weapons were on display.
“The first officer on the scene reported this information and within minutes the vehicle was spotted on I-70 heading west. When law enforcement approached the vehicle, the driver accelerated and attempted to flee. The chase led to Guernsey County, where it crashed and two suspects were arrested uninjured,” he said, adding that St. Clairsville Police, 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 a variety of 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 had not been released as of Monday.
“Where they came from and where they were going remains to be seen. They weren’t local,” he said. “It will take a day or two for things to get moving.”
The amount of money taken is also not yet published. Bank employees were questioned by law enforcement.
He said the incident is still under investigation. The car will be searched and the men may be transported from Guernsey County, where they are being held, to Belmont County. He’s in contact with the FBI.
“I imagine there’s a good possibility that this will turn into a federal case,” Arbenz said.
Premier Bank’s St. Clairsville branch was closed following the incident. The FBI’s Wheeling office did not respond to calls seeking comment.