By Rick Palsgrove
The Huntington National Bank in Groveport was robbed for the second time in a month and it is the third time the bank has been robbed in a year.
“We, as a whole city, feel violated by these crimes,” said Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp. “I know crimes like this happen all over, but you always hope things like this will never happen here. We’re thankful that no one was hurt.”
Witnesses said a white male wearing a black mask, blue long sleeve shirt, and gray pants entered the bank around 11 a.m. on June 16 armed with a gun and demanded money. Bank workers complied and the suspect then fled the bank on foot east to a waiting silver van that was parked on Walnut Street. The van did not have license plates. The suspects escaped by driving west on Main Street and then north on College Street. The suspects escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier said no other details are available at this time because the investigation is ongoing.
“We will find out who they are,” said Portier of the suspects.
The bank was also robbed on May 31 by a suspect described as a black male wearing a yellow windbreaker and jeans. That investigation is also ongoing.
On July 1, 2015, the bank was robbed and that robber was caught a week later robbing a bank in Dublin.
Portier said the bank in Groveport is not the only bank in Central Ohio to be robbed. He also noted robberies tend to increase in the summer and before major holidays.
“Other communities get hit often, too,” said Portier. “Banks in small communities are targets for robbers.”
Portier said it is impossible for the police to be everywhere at all times.
“We can’t monitor a location 24/7 in any way, shape or form,” said Portier. “We do step up patrols and we do maintain daily, regular contact at the bank, but our officers also have many other calls to take. We try to do everything we can to reduce these kinds of incidents. Police visibility throughout the entire city is important.”
Portier said stolen bank money is protected by insurance and that the police’s “number goal is saving and protecting lives first and foremost. We are doing everything we can.”
Portier said citizens can help the police and community by being vigilant and aware.
“When citizens see something – anything – suspicious, they should call the police no matter what,” said Portier.