Police seek bank robber, catch helper

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SOUTH POINT - For the second time in a little more than two months, the Oak Hill Bank - formerly Lawrence Federal Savings Bank - on Solida Road in South Point has been robbed.

A chase ensued, eventually one suspect was arrested and police continue searching for another.

Police are currently looking for and filing charges against Michael Artip, 33, of Ashland, Ky. He is described as being 6-feet-tall, around 180 pounds with brown hair and numerous tattoos on his arms, chest and back. He is a previously convicted felon who is considered armed and dangerous.

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The scenario began at 11:07 a.m. Friday, when a single person entered the building, showed a weapon and robbed the bank, according to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office.

A police chase followed on U.S. 52, State Route 243, and then County Roads 6 and 52 before the suspect's car careened off an embankment and into a field.

Michelle Harrison and son Craig Rowe live just a few yards from where the crash took place on County Road 52.

The two were outside when the wreck took place, and, thinking that the suspect had been injured, attempted to help him.

"He came around the curve, and I guess he lost control and went spinning out down there into the field," Rowe said. "He had a bag with him, and he took off running into the field. We were hollering at him to stay where he was, because we thought he was hurt."

It was then that the state patrol arrived and rushed the two back into their home and explained that they had just attempted to aid a suspected bank robber.

"I was petrified," Harrison said. "I was petrified, I was telling him 'Get in the house! Get in the house!'"

One subject was located walking on State Route 243 and was taken into custody by Sheriff's deputies. Michael Myers, 27, of 2411 First St. in Westwood, Ky., has been charged with complicity to aggravated robbery and is currently in the Lawrence County Jail.

He will appear on Monday morning before Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper.

The search continued for the driver of the red Camaro that had plummeted into the field. For hours, around 25 officers from various agencies scoured the nearby forest for some sign of their man, Sheriff Tim Sexton said.

"We had K9s out here searching, we've come up with a few scents, we've lost a few scents, and we just haven't come up with a subject," Sexton said.

The search continued into early Saturday morning before being picked up later in the day.

Those who may know the whereabouts of Atrip may contact their local police agency, the Lawrence County Sheriff at (740) 532-3525 or the FBI, which is now assisting in the case.

The bank was robbed on March 17 of this year when it was known as the Lawrence Federal Savings Bank. It was also robbed in April 2001.