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Arrest made in bank robbery

WINTERSVILLE — A village man was arrested two hours after he allegedly robbed a bank in Robinson Township on Wednesday afternoon.

Robinson Township Police Detective Brad Mermon said there had been a report of an armed robbery at the First Commonwealth Bank on Park Manor Drive around 1:55 p.m. on Wednesday. A man came into the bank wearing a ski mask, displayed a gun and demanded money. The robber, later identified as Montague Howard, 40, of 104 Orchard St., Wintersville, got away with about $8,000 in cash.

Mermon said two officers were nearby when the robbery call came in, responded and saw a vehicle driving away at a high rate of speed. He said the officers did see the vehicle had Ohio plates.

Mermon said officers accessed traffic cameras and license plate readers and were able to determine a possible suspect.

He said Howard appeared to be canvassing the bank prior to going inside.

“Based on the description, we thought we had our guy,” Mermon said.

Robinson Township Police contacted Wintersville Police about Howard.

Village Police Chief Arthur Fowler went to Howard’s residence and saw him getting into the vehicle. Fowler said he conducted a traffic stop around 3:55 p.m. on Wednesday and took Howard into custody.

Mermon said a trash bag containing all the cash taken in the bank robbery was found on the seat of the vehicle.

The detective said Howard gave a statement about his involvement in the robbery, and gave a location as to where he discarded the ski mask and other evidence.

“This was a good effort among the agencies involved,” Mermon said.

The FBI also was involved in the investigation.

“This was a case of excellent communication among multiple agencies and jurisdictions,” Fowler said.

Howard is lodged in the Jefferson County jail on pending charges.

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