Wellsville Police Chief: \'This was the best kind of bank robbery\'

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The police chiefs of both Wellsville and Auxvasse said law enforcement and the public came together to help the aftermath of a bank robbery run as smoothly as possible.

An armed suspect robbed Martinsburg Bank in Wellsville Thursday morning.

Wellsville Police Chief Rich Daniels said the suspect escaped in a stolen car and headed toward Callaway County where Auxvasse Officer Danny O'Rourke started to pursue the suspect in a high speed chase.

Auxvasse Police Chief Kevin Suedmeyer said the suspect lost control of the car after reaching speeds up to 115 mph. The car crashed on Old Highway 54 by the intersection with Highway 54 in Callaway County. Suedmeyer said O'Rourke ran after the armed suspect, held them at gun point and then took them into custody. Suedmeyer said the chase lasted no longer than 12 minutes.

Suedmeyer described O'Rourke as his "superhero." He said it is difficult and dangerous to take down an armed suspect especially with slippery roads after all of the rain.

Daniels said the events following the robbery would have gone vastly different if not for employees at the bank.

"The tellers at the bank did a great job," said Daniels. "They were not only able to give a good accurate description of the suspect, they were also able to give an accurate description of the vehicle and actually give a full license number of the car."

The Callaway Sheriff's Department warned administrators at North Callaway High School and Auxvasse Elementary School about the armed robbery suspect on the loose nearby. The two schools went into lockout mode for about 12 minutes until O'Rourke took the suspect into custody.

Several parents said they think the schools took the right precautions.

"I think it's a good idea because it keeps the kids safe," said Amber Thacher. "I think they should be on lockdown all day long." 

The suspect is in the Montgomery County Jail on a 24-hour hold.

Daniels said the department will release more information on the suspect and the case Friday.


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