Bank robbery suspects caught


Two men have been arrested after authorities say they robbed a bank in downtown Delaware Monday morning.

The two men are Jonathan E. Leon, 24, and Alonzo D. Groce, 19, both of Columbus. They were being processed in the Delaware County Jail late Monday afternoon. Information about charges filed against them was not available at press time.

About 11:30 a.m. a man produced a small handgun and demanded cash at the PNC Bank located at 40 N. Sandusky St. and fled east in a car on U.S. 36/State Route 37 with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

Officers in an unmarked police car noticed a car traveling at a high speed and followed it as it went south on Interstate 71.

Delaware Police Captain Adam Moore said officers in the unmarked car radioed for assistance from marked vehicles as the suspect vehicle got onto I-71.

Moore said Delaware police pursued the men — along with units from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Columbus police — until the men abandoned their vehicle near Polaris Parkway and South Old State Road Monday afternoon.

The driver of the vehicle was apprehended by authorities soon after, Moore said.

The passenger of the vehicle ran on foot and police dogs from various agencies were called in to search for him, police scanner traffic indicated. A helicopter was also brought in by Columbus police to aid in the manhunt.

Moore said the second man was captured in a drainage ditch a couple of hours later in the area of Polaris Parkway.

Immediately after the robbery, Delaware police and Delaware County sheriff’s deputies surrounded the bank building and began an investigation while other units pursued the suspects to the Polaris area. An FBI agent arrived at the scene about an hour after the robbery.

Employees working in the bank building — which also houses The Gazette — were not permitted to leave the building. No one was allowed to enter the building either, including Gazette employees who had gone outside after seeing police arrive and brandishing weapons. Employees were allowed back into the building a couple of hours later. The bank remained closed for several hours.

An employee of The Gazette said she saw who she believes to be one of the accused men enter the bank just before the robbery.

The Delaware County sheriff’s office said it notified nearby schools and day-care centers during the search for the second man in the Polaris area.

Moore said about a dozen police units were searching for the second suspect after he ran on foot.

Moore said the investigation was a collaboration between multiple agencies and that no one agency deserves all the credit.

Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski speaks to Sgt. Brenda Wadsworth Monday morning outside the PNC Bank at North Sandusky and Winter streets. Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski speaks to Sgt. Brenda Wadsworth Monday morning outside the PNC Bank at North Sandusky and Winter streets.

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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