FARRELL – A Youngstown, Ohio, man accused of robbing the First National Bank on Indiana Avenue Friday afternoon is in the Mercer County Jail on $750,000 bond.
Demetrius D. Harris, 19, of 475 Detroit Ave., was arraigned at 8 a.m. Saturday in front of District Magistrate Mary Ann Odem of Farrell on charges of robbery – threat of immediate serious injury, robbery – demand money from a financial institution, terroristic threats, theft, carrying firearms without a license and reckless endangerment.
Harris also has a detainer out of Ohio for felony gun and drug charges, Detective Capt. Chuck Rubano said.
The FBI is now assisting with the investigation and will indict Harris on federal charges, he said.
When in custody, Harris waived his rights and admitted to committing the armed robbery with two other unnamed accomplices, police said. Those men are still at large.
Rubano would not say how much money the robbers took from the bank. However, he said police recovered more than $50,000 and that there is “a lot more missing.”
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Rubano, two men wearing hospital scrubs and masks entered the front doors of the bank with guns drawn.
One man ran into the office of the bank manager and ordered her out at gunpoint. The other man ran toward the other side of the bank and ordered everyone on the ground. Police determined that at the time of the robbery, there were two customers and seven employees inside the bank. No one was hurt.
The men held everyone at gunpoint and repeatedly ordered the tellers to give them all the money. One of the men jumped on the counter and ordered the tellers to empty the drawers and to place the money into a backpack the suspects had brought with them.
The men left out the back door and ran west toward Stambaugh Avenue.
At that point, police were informed of the robbery and were told by Mercer County 911 that the men were armed and were running south down the street from the bank.
Rubano was on his way to the bank, and, as he approached the stop sign at Idaho Street from the south end of Stambaugh Avenue, he saw a black man running south through an empty field just west of sunset Bowling Lanes. The man was carrying an AR-15-type rifle and a blue backpack.
Pennsylvania Probation and Parole agent Tim McCutheon arrived, jumped out of his vehicle and chased the man through the yard of a residence in the 1200 block of Idaho Street.
Rubano circled around and went south on Stambaugh to get ahead of the man. He saw the suspect still running through the back yard so he pulled over in the 900 block of Stambaugh and got out of his vehicle. As he started running up the hill toward the back of the residence, the man emerged on the south side running toward Rubano holding only the backpack.
McCutheon was in front of the house, and the two law enforcement officers ordered the man to the ground at gunpoint.
Harris was handcuffed and taken to the Farrell Police Department.
Rubano recovered the backpack, which was open, and discovered a large amount of bundled money inside. As Rubano searched for the discarded AR-15 rifle, he collected multiple bundles of money at the back of the residence in the 900 block of Stambaugh.
He later found the rifle in a wooded area on the south side of the residence. The AR-15 was loaded with 25 live rounds in the attached magazine and a round in the chamber.
Harris was taken to Mercer County Jail after his arraignment. His preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 15.