LIBERTY Chief: We'll catch robber
Getting information out to the public quickly is one big help in solving bank robberies.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- Based on the success rate, bank robbery in Liberty Township isn't a good career choice.
"We have a 100-percent clearance rate," Police Chief Anthony Slifka said Thursday. "We'll catch this guy, too."
Slifka made the promise after Key Bank on Belmont Avenue was robbed about 10 a.m. Thursday.
The robber remained on the loose this morning.
It was the third time this year the bank branch has been hit.
Slifka said a white male in his mid-30s walked into the bank and demanded money from a teller.
The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the man fled on foot.
He was wearing a white shirt. He has a medium build, weighs 175 to 200 pounds and has a scarred face, according to police.
During the robbery, Youngstown police Detective Gerald Maietta, who was off-duty, was in the bank making a deposit.
Because there was no commotion, Maietta was unaware of the robbery until the thief had left and the teller became distressed.
Maietta gave chase, but the robber was gone, Slifka said.
Slifka said the thief didn't drop any evidence, but the FBI obtained fingerprints at the scene.
More importantly, bank surveillance cameras got a clear photograph of the robber.
Because of the close cooperation with the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force and FBI, Slifka said, two robbers have been convicted this year.
One held up the Liberty branch of Bank One on Jan 26 and the other robbed the Charter One Bank branch on June 17.
Key to success
A primary reason for success, the chief explained, is because of quick reaction in getting information out to law enforcement and the community.
For example, a 30-year-old Youngstown man was captured by Austintown police the day after the Charter One robbery.
A motel desk clerk identified his picture, which had appeared on television, after he checked in.
Slifka said the township has its share of bank robberies because of the large number of financial institutions that present "multiple targets."
Also, there are major access highways such as state Route 193 and Interstate 80.