Bank robbed; school gets bomb threat

FORTVILLE — What usually would have been a quiet Friday in Fortville was disrupted by two significant events that left the nine-member police department divided.

At 11:30 a.m., Hancock County 911 Center received emergency calls about a robbery at Greenfield Banking Co. in Fortville.

According to police, a white male in his mid-20s to early 30s entered the bank, 111 W. Broadway, and handed a teller a note demanding money. He did not display a weapon.

The teller handed the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and he left the scene in a late model, black Ford Expedition.

The suspect is described as 5-foot-10 to 6-feet-tall and weighing about 150 to 180 pounds. He was wearing a baseball hat, a gray -hooded sweatshirt and light-colored blue jeans at the time of the robbery. The suspect also was wearing a fake beard and glasses, police said.

He has a star tattoo on his left hand.

No injuries were reported, and the investigation is ongoing.

Just a half-hour before the robbery, classes at Mt. Vernon High School were halted when administrators learned of a bomb threat.

School principal Bernie Campbell said the main office received a bomb threat via a phone call about 10:45 a.m. Friday. The school, in turn, was evacuated.

The call came from a Las Vegas area code.

Fortville Lt. Patrick Bratton said officers were still investigating both the bomb threat and the robbery.

He said the Fortville branch of Greenfield Banking Co. has been robbed once before, and police were able to catch the suspect fairly quickly.

This time, however, because of the bomb threat, the department already was dealing with another incident at the time of the robbery and wasn’t able to respond as quickly.

Fortville was the last of several police departments on scene, according to a news release.

Since the events happened within a half-hour of each other, police are investigating whether they’re related.

“At this time, we do not have any evidence to tie these events together, although this is very uncommon for Fortville to have two major events in one day,” Bratton said.

The situation at the school was made worse when it lost power minutes after receiving the phone call regarding the bomb threat. The school was one of about 500 NineStar Connect customers who lost power for a short time Friday.

The power outage and bomb threat were unrelated, Campbell said, but the power outage added to concern about the bomb scare.

NineStar Connect reported the power outage was caused after a tree limb fell on a power line.

Mt. Vernon High School students were moved from the high school building to Fortville Elementary and Mt. Vernon Middle School as police investigated.

Campbell said bomb-sniffing police dogs cleared the perimeter of the building before checking the inside and the school’s parking lot. Police gave the all-clear just after 1 p.m.

It’s been about 10 years since the school last handled a bomb threat, Campbell said, and he was impressed by how students and faculty reacted, especially with the power outage.

“It was a chaotic situation,” he said.

Friday was the last day of classes before spring break starts, and students were taking final tests.

Anyone with information about the bomb threat or robbery is asked to contact the Fortville Police Department at 317-477-1144.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.