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City National robbed during open house

Bank robbers and suspicious suitcases made Monday manic for area emergency service agencies.

A man wearing a ski mask held up City National Bank on Center Street Monday at approximately 11:30 a.m. The man made his entrance and exit via the back door of the bank, according to Ironton police detective Jim Akers.

"He was covered in dark clothing and had a ski mask on," Akers said. "He had a gun, showed it, got money and took off."

The robbery was in contrast to the scene in front of the bank. To celebrate the name change from Classic Bank to City National Bank, corporate employees handed out hot dogs on the sidewalk to

passersby who were oblivious to the robbery.

"We were just sitting here and didn't see nothing," said Bob Nance, who sat with others on the retaining wall eating hot dogs outside the Lawrence County Courthouse. "We didn't know what had happened until they came over and told us."

This is the second bank robbery in Ironton this year, the third bank hold up in Lawrence County this year.

Meanwhile, a suspicious-looking gray suitcase kept Ironton firefighters busy several blocks away at the End Zone parking lot on Third Street. While the suitcase turned out to be nothing more than an old typewriter, traffic was blocked and onlookers were kept at a distance until firefighters and representatives from the State Fire Marshal's Office determined its contents.

"One of my employees saw it and picked it up and called my wife at work and my wife told her to call the police and have it checked out," End Zone owner Rick Haynes said. The discovery of the suitcase delayed the restaurant's opening until afternoon.

"We're taking some precautions," Ironton Fire Chief

Tom Runyon said.

"I don't believe it's anything more than an old typewriter in a case but still, with everything that happened a couple of weeks ago, we're not taking any chances."

Local officials are not sure if the two incidents are related.

Earlier this month emergency services workers were called to a house on Kevin Street after a resident set fire to the structure with a homemade explosive device.

In the end, Runyon and his department won praise from state officials for their handling of the suitcase.

"The Ironton Fire Department did an excellent job controlling the situation and making the right determination," Ken Crawford, assistant chief for the fire marshal's south east regional office, said.