Accused bank robbers indicted


Two men accused of a bank robbery in downtown Delaware recently were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury Wednesday.

Alonzo D. Groce, 19, of Columbus, and Jonathan E. Leon II, 24, of New York, were each indicted on a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. The charges also carry two specifications noting that a firearm was used in the robbery and that Leon is a repeat violent offender.

Groce is accused of robbing the PNC Bank at 40 N. Sandusky St. on Aug. 24 at gunpoint. Leon is the accused get-away driver.

Arraignments in Delaware County Common Pleas Court have not yet been scheduled.

Police allege Groce entered the PNC Bank Aug. 24, produced a handgun and threatened bank employees with it.

A Delaware police detective said in Delaware Municipal Court that the hammer was pulled back on the gun and there was a round in the chamber and two in the magazine. The detective said that, although no one was injured during the bank robbery, it could have easily resulted in violence.

Police said that when Groce left the bank, he was picked up by Leon. The two men allegedly drove east in a car on U.S. 36/State Route 37 with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

However, an unmarked police car saw the car run a stop sign and followed it, believing it could be involved in the bank robbery, authorities said.

Police followed the men to Interstate 71, where they headed south toward Polaris.

Police stopped the vehicle in the area of Polaris Parkway and South Old State Road. Leon was taken into custody shortly after the men abandoned the vehicle. Groce was arrested a couple of hours later, according to police, in a drainage ditch in the area of Polaris Parkway.

The men appeared in Delaware Municipal Court Aug. 25, where Judge Marianne Hemmeter set their bond at $500,000 each. She said she would require the full amount of the bond.

Police told Hemmeter that Groce has no criminal history.

Groce’s mother told the judge the crime was the result of “wrong place, wrong time, wrong people.”

Prosecutors told Hemmeter than Leon has an violent criminal history, including time served for assault and robbery in Franklin County.

Leon told Hemmeter he did not full understand the severity of his situation until he read the charges being brought against him. He told the judge he was in a “cloudy state” and was in Delaware to see if he’d like to move here.

Hemmeter added that Leon’s repeat violent offender specification could add a decade of prison time to any sentence if he is found guilty.

The two men were in the Delaware County Jail Thursday afternoon.

Leon is also charged with failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Prosecutors said this charge was for not pulling his car over when he saw police signals.

Groce Courtesy photos | Delaware County Jail

Leon Courtesy photos | Delaware County Jail

By Glenn Battishill

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

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