Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Robbery suspect caught in flash

Man, 18, charged in Newport holdup

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Newport police made one of the quickest arrests in department history Tuesday when a man accused of an armed robbery was arrested about a minute after the holdup only three blocks from the scene of the crime.

        Police charged 18-year-old Benjamin Ham, of the 500 block of Ezzard Charles Drive in Cincinnati, with armed robbery for allegedly taking more than $700 at gunpoint from the Famous Liquors store at Fifth and York streets.

        A clerk at the store told officers a man entered the store shortly before 11 a.m., asked for a particular item, walked to the rear of the store and then came back to the counter where he brandished a handgun and demanded money.

        The suspect fled on foot, brushing past a customer at the front door of the store. The clerk called 911 and the suspect's description was broadcast over the police dispatch network.

        Officer Greg Ripberger was working a traffic stop two blocks away when he noticed a man fitting the description of the robber. He gave chase, and when the man tripped and fell near Second and Columbia streets, Officer Ripberger arrested him.

        Police Lt. Phil Liles said the suspect dropped a semi-automatic pistol magazine and a large amount of money when he fell. Police found a 9mm pistol that matched the magazine about a half a block away. More than $700 in cash was also recovered.

        Mr. Ham, who was identified by the store clerk and the customer as being the robber, was being held at the Campbell County Detention Center pending arraignment today in Campbell District Court.


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