Saturday, December 16, 2000

Coffee in face sends would-be bank robber fleeing

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A would-be bank robber was foiled by a jolt of java Friday morning, when a bank manager tossed a cup of steaming coffee in his face.

        “It's not something we recommend when an individual's being held up by a gun, but in this case, it worked out for her,” said Lt. Ray Ruberg, Cincinnati police spokesman.

        The man got away with no loot from the Firstar Bank, 925 W. Eighth St., Queensgate. It still counts as the 53rd bank robbery during this record-breaking year for bank heists in southwest Ohio, said Ed Boldt, spokesman for the FBI's Cincinnati office.

        Last year, Brown, Clermont and Hamilton counties saw 28 bank robberies — almost half as many as this year. Officials say it's hard to identify reasons for the upsurge.

        Because the suspect remained at large Friday afternoon, The Cincinnati Enquirer is withholding the name of the 49-year-old bank manager for her safety. The quick-thinking manager, who suffered a cut on her head, was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital and released. She didn't respond to requests for interviews.

        The manager reported she was entering the bank employees' door at 7:25 a.m. when a man forced his way in. At gunpoint, the man told the manager to open the vault. When she refused, he struck her in the head several times with the gun. The manager flung her coffee in his face before she took refuge in a bathroom.

        The man — who police said may have “some minor burns on his face from the coffee” and splash stains on his green military coat — fled out the rear door.

        Police describe him as a black man with a medium or light complexion, age 20 to 24, 6 feet tall and about 150 pounds. He was wearing a dark knit cap, was clean-shaven and had a neat appearance.

       Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. Callers may remain anonymous and could receive a reward.


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