Fifth Third Bank on Far Hills Avenue near the Town and Country shopping center was robbed Dec. 23, 2016, in Kettering. JAROD THRUSH / STAFF

Police: Robber strikes again at same Fifth Third Bank

UPDATE @ 6:47 p.m. (Dec. 27):

Four days after the Fifth Third Bank on Far Hills Avenue in Kettering was robbed, a masked man entered the bank Tuesday afternoon but quickly left before making off with any money. 

Kettering police believe the man is the same person who robbed the bank Friday, using bomb threats at a grocery store and recreation center to divert attention and resources from the bank crime. 

Witnesses said in Friday's robbery that a white man in his 20s, wearing a black ski mask and black hoodie, wielding a can of pepper spray, entered the bank and left with an undisclosed amount of money. 

The man in Tuesday’s attempted robbery wore the same types of clothing as the person from Friday. 

“At this point we’re going based on the information from the description,” Kettering Lt. Michael Gabrielson said. 

The would-be robber fled on foot again before officers could arrive. Police set up a perimeter around the bank at 4121 Far Hills Ave. and a Dayton police dog was dispatched to the scene, but units were unsuccessful in locating the man as he reportedly headed southeast on Far Hills Avenue. 

What would cause someone to hit the same bank twice? “Desperation,” Gabrielson said. “The fact that you would go back to the same location within four days. The employees were already on edge from the robbery, so they immediately saw him as he was coming into the bank.” 

Police are checking area businesses to see if the man was captured on any of their surveillance cameras, hoping that daylight will make it easier for any footage they may find or any potential witnesses that may come forward. 

Before the robbery on Friday, an anonymous caller dialed 9-1-1 around 5:30 p.m., reporting two separate bombs were located at the Kettering Recreation Complex and the Kroger on Dorothy Lane, prompting police to evacuate both facilities. 

“Do not mess around. You better get to them,” the anonymous caller told the dispatcher. Police searched both locations, but nothing was found. Shortly after the bomb threats were made, police were dispatched to an armed robbery at Fifth Third Bank, and officers suggested the threats were made to distract police from the robbery. 

The robber pepper sprayed one of the bank tellers before escaping on foot. Anyone with information is urged to call Kettering police at 937-296-2555.

UPDATE @ 4:30 p.m.

The employees at Fifth Third Bank, 416 E. Stroop Road, were still on edge from Friday’s robbery when they saw the same masked male walk into the bank today, said Kettering Lt. Michael Gabrielson.

The robber, believed to be a white male in his 20s, threatened to use pepper spray on the employees, just like last time, but he apparently thought better and exited the bank moments later without getting anything, Gabrielson said.

Kettering bank robbed Friday hit again today

"The employees there were already on edge ... from the [Friday] robbery. They immediately saw him as he was coming into the bank and that's why the report came in so quickly to us."

Police set up a perimeter and called in a K-9 unit from Dayton, but no suspect was located.

Why would a robber hit the same bank twice within days?

“Desperation,” Gabrielson said. “Unfortunately, this time of year bank robberies do actually go up in the holiday season.”

Police are checking area businesses to see if the robber was captured on a surveillance camera.

If you can help in the investigation, contact Kettering police at (937) 296-2555.

UPDATE @ 3:19 p.m.

Police in Kettering tell us the Fifth Third Bank, 416 E. Stroop Road, that was robbed on Friday was robbed again this afternoon, and by the same suspect.

The robbery was reported around 2 p.m.

The robber matches the description of the perpetrator in Friday’s robbery, a white male in his 20s. And similar to Friday’s incident, the robber threatened employees with pepper spray but did not use it.

We’re working to learn more and will update this story as more information becomes available.

UPDATE @ 9 a.m.

This newsroom has requested and obtained the 9-1-1 calls related to two bomb threats and a bank robbery in Kettering that happened Dec. 23.

A male called 9-1-1 and told a Kettering dispatcher there were two bombs: One at the Kettering Recreation Center and at Kroger. Police tell us no bombs were found at those locations and they believe the threats were called in to distract police from the robbery at Fifth Third Bank.

“Do not mess around. You better get to them,” the anonymous caller told the dispatcher.

Shortly thereafter Kettering police received three 9-1-1 calls from employees at Fifth Third Bank, 416 E. Stroop Road.

The 9-1-1 callers reported a white male entered the bank wearing a dark mask and threatened to use pepper spray while demanding cash.

There was no cash in the teller drawers at the time and the robber didn’t get much, according to one of the 9-1-1 callers.

Police have not made an arrest or identified a suspect.

If you can help in the investigation, contact Kettering police at (937) 296-2555.

EARLIER

Bomb threats Friday evening evacuated the Kettering Recreation Complex and a busy Kroger, which police said was a ploy to diver police attention from a Fifth Third Bank robbery.

The threats were called in around 5:30 p.m. to the rec center, 2900 Glengarry Drive, and to Kroger, 2115 E. Dorothy Lane, which was crowded with shoppers ahead of the holiday weekend. Police searched the buildings, but nothing suspicious was found. The rec center was closed for the rest of the night, and customers and employees were able to go back inside the grocery store.

Shortly after the bomb threats, police were called to an armed robbery at Fifth Third Bank, 4120 Far Hills Ave., near the Town and Country shopping plaza. A man carrying pepper spray wearing a black ski mask, black hooded sweatshirt and worn, baggy blue jeans walked into the bank and demanded money from a teller, Kettering police Sgt. Bradley Lambert said.

A Fifth Third Bank robbery Dec. 23, 2016, is connected to two bomb threats in Kettering. JAMES BUECHELE / STAFF

“The suspect actually maced her before she even got a chance to comply, unfortunately, but she’s OK,” Lambert said.

The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

“We ended up calling a K-9 to do a track; the track was ultimately unsuccessful,” the sergeant said. According to police radio traffic, the suspect, described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall, was last tracked to the area of Lesher Drive and Shroyer Road within a half-mile of the bank.

Police say all three crimes are connected.

“It’s a theory that the suspect in the robbery actually called in the bomb threats to tie up law enforcement,” Lambert said.

Kroger is 3.6 miles from the bank, and the rec center and bank are 4.2 miles apart.

Once the suspect is caught, he faces years behind bars, if convicted, and not just for the bank heist.

“Making the bomb threat itself is a crime: inducing panic. They could also be held liable for any civil loss,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Kettering police at 937-296-2555.

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