Suspect in Lima bank robbery in court

·3 min read

Aug. 8—LIMA — A Lima man charged with robbing a bank on the city's east side earlier this year appeared in court briefly on Monday for a suppression hearing requested by his attorney. Steve Chamberlain of the Allen County Public Defenders Office is attempting to have statements made to police by Brandon Allen Sr. ruled inadmissible as evidence when a jury trial begins next month.

Allen, 37, was indicted in April on one count of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, in connection with the theft of money from the Union Bank Co. branch at 1410 Bellefontaine Avenue in Lima. The indictment includes specifications for Allen's use of a firearm and as a repeat violent offender.

At approximately 10 a.m. on March 8, Lima police responded to the bank in reference to what was described as an armed robbery. Employees said a man wearing a surgical mask entered the bank and handed a female teller a handwritten note which, according to court documents, read "I HAVE a gun please place All $$ from draw(er) and lock box safe on Counter, NO Die packs or silent alarms or I will Shoot."

The teller told detectives the suspect had his right hand in his coat pocket and she feared for her life, believing he had a gun. She gave the man, later identified as Allen, approximately $3,050 in cash before he fled on foot.

The note was written on a check from Superior Credit Union with the name and address blacked out, but police were able to track the account to Allen. Using drivers' license information, police went to Allen's listed address on Bellefontaine Avenue. A search warrant was obtained for the property and a Superior Credit Union checkbook in Allen's name was found inside a vehicle registered to Allen at that location.

Allen was spotted later that day in the 400 block of South Jameson Avenue and was taken into custody following a short foot pursuit. He had $900 in cash on his person at the time of the arrest.

Allen has denied taking part in the bank robbery.

No testimony was presented at Monday's hearing, although Chamberlain and Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Destiny Caldwell stipulated to the authenticity of a video of two separate interviews of Allen by Lima police detectives Jesse Harrod and Steve Stechschulte that was entered into evidence.

Chamberlain, in his suppression motion, said Allen's constitutional rights were violated when investigators failed to advise him of his right against self-incrimination and right to an attorney before accusatory questioning began.

Caldwell told Judge Jeffrey Reed it is more than 17 minutes into the March 8 interview before Allen is formally issued a Miranda warning. The prosecutor said Allen "talked and talked and talked" and made unsolicited statements before the warning was issued.

Caldwell said the video will show there is "no question the defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and that he waived them" and that he knew he was in police custody at the time.

Reed took the video under advisement.