The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

November 26, 2013

Police: Tuesday robbery suspect connected to Fort Wayne robbery

ANDERSON, Ind. — A man suspected of robbing a southside bank Tuesday morning allegedly admitted to also robbing another branch of the same bank in Fort Wayne just days earlier.

Stephen Mark Long, 28, of Auburn, was arrested shortly after the Star Financial branch at 1503 E. 53rd St. was robbed about 10:30 a.m. Anderson Police Department public information officer Joel Sandefur said Long was questioned by APD officers and FBI agents and admitted to Tuesday’s robbery as well as a robbery of the Star Financial at 7110 Lima Road, Fort Wayne, on Nov. 18.

According to a press release from Sandefur, a man walked into the branch, walked up to a teller and handed over a note indicating he had a gun and demanding money. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the man left the branch. It was later discovered the man had been armed with a BB gun but never showed it. Sandefur said it was a quiet crime.

“It wasn’t violent,” Sandefur said. “One of the witnesses standing right next to him said they didn’t realized what was happening.”

The suspect left the area in a 2000 Dodge Durango and was followed by vehicle by a witness who was inside the bank during the robbery. The witness tailed the sport utility vehicle, called 911 and provided dispatchers with information about the SUV’s direction. When Long made a stop at the Speedway gas station at 73rd Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, the witness pulled in behind him and distracted him long enough for police to arrive. Long was taken into custody without incident by Madison County sheriff’s deputies.

Sandefur said the witness who followed the SUV was an off-duty firefighter, and that APD appreciated his efforts in helping to track down the suspect.

Sandefur said the robbery had many of the earmarkings of the Fort Wayne robbery that happened just a week earlier. During that robbery, a man in his mid-20s entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash and indicating he was armed. The man kept his hand in his coat pocket the entire time, as though he were concealing a weapon. The robber left the bank in an SUV matching the description of the one Long used.

“I don’t know why he decided to hit Star Financial both times. It wasn’t a good idea because they have excellent surveillance,” Sandefur said.

Sandefur said both robberies remain under investigation. Long was held on $20,000 bond in the Madison County Jail, facing a preliminary charge of robbery, a Class D felony.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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