BG man charged in June bank heist
Jan 10, 2013 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A DNA match led to the arrest Wednesday of a Bowling Green artist who is accused of robbing American Bank & Trust on June 20.
Steven Paul Harston, 47, is charged with first-degree robbery, according to court records. Bowling Green police consider Harston a suspect in other bank robberies in southcentral Kentucky and northern Tennessee, according to a news release from the Bowling Green Police Department. Harston is in Warren County Regional Jail.
Harston pleaded not guilty today in Warren District Court. Warren District Judge Brent Potter set Harston's bond at $250,000 cash.
"After the rash of bank robberies we've had in Warren County over the last year, BGPD had been prioritizing these investigations," said Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron.
On June 20, an armed white man walked into American Bank & Trust on Fairview Avenue, brandished a small, silver and black semi-automatic weapon and demanded money from the teller, Warren Circuit Court records show.
The man was wearing a zip-up Fox brand hoodie, a black street hockey mask and a pair of windbreaker pants, records show. After taking the money, the robber rode away on a bicycle toward Fairview Plaza shopping center, according to court records.
Behind Fairview Plaza, BGPD Detective Michael Myrick found a bicycle, a mask, pants, a sweatshirt and shoes matching the description of the items that the robber wore, according to court records and to Cohron.
Police reviewed surveillance videos from both the bank and the area behind Fairview Plaza, court records show. The video footage behind Fairview Plaza shows a person on a bike enter an area near some bushes where a small blue truck was parked. The person drove away in the truck, records show. Harston is the registered owner of a blue 1991 Mazda B2600 pickup truck.
On Jan. 3, the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab in Frankfort called Myrick and confirmed that DNA found in the windbreaker pants matched Harston, court records show. Harston's DNA was in the FBI's Combined DNA Index System database after it was collected from Harston following a conviction for a bank robbery and kidnapping in California in the late 1980s, according to court records and to Cohron.
"These guys have been working at all hours every day," BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said about the detectives investigating this bank robbery.
Acting on a tip, BGPD officers arrested Harston on Wednesday on Shive Lane, Ward said. Harston was a passenger in a car in the 900 block of Shive Lane. Ward declined to name the driver of that vehicle and said that the driver is not charged with any crime in this investigation.
"This investigation is still ongoing," Cohron said. "We are confident additional charges will be filed regarding other bank robberies that occurred in Warren County as well as potentially other jurisdictions.
"The FBI has been extremely cooperative in working with BGPD on this investigation," Cohron said. "At the conclusion of this investigation, we anticipate meeting with the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine the best venue for prosecution."
Bank robbery charges can be prosecuted in state or federal court.
For now, the case against Harston will be prosecuted in the state's criminal system, Cohron said.
Harston moved to this area from California sometime after being released from prison, Cohron said.
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