'Clerks did feel threatened' in credit union robbery

Cary Ashby • Feb 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

A former car washer charged with committing two local robberies in about 48 hours must post a nearly $200,000 bond before being released from custody.

Robert L. Jackson Jr., 52, of 1153 Peru Olena Road, was arrested at gunpoint, but without incident, about 9:30 p.m. Monday near the intersection of U.S. 20 and Ohio 58 in Oberlin.

Jackson is charged with robbery and theft in connection with the incident Saturday morning at the Firelands Federal Credit Union branch in Monroeville, where he once lived. He also faces one count of aggravated robbery stemming from a Monday morning robbery of East Side Fuel in Norwalk.

"He obtained a large amount of cash," Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said about the Monroeville robbery. "The clerks did feel threatened by his demand of money."

None of the Firelands clerks reported seeing a gun or hearing Jackson threaten to brandish one, Christophel said. Four clerks and a manager were working Saturday, but no customers were present during the offense reported about 11 a.m.

During the suspected East Side robbery, Jackson "displayed the handle of the weapon," Christophel said. The Cleveland Road incident happened about 10 a.m. Monday. Employees earlier declined to comment about the robbery.

The suspect's arrest was the culmination of investigations by the Norwalk and Monroeville police departments. The manhunt involved the cooperation of the Huron County Sheriff's Office, state Highway Patrol, Oberlin and Cleveland Police Department and other area agencies.

Jackson was caught with "drugs and significant amount of cash in the vehicle," Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said. He attributed Jackson's arrest to good police work and cooperation between departments, which included the sheriff's office whose deputies searched the area all Monday night.

In 1982, Jackson was convicted of robbery.

Most recently, the defendant served 15 1/2 years at the Lorain Correctional Institution for local convictions of robbery and aggravated robbery. Jackson also was serving time for Erie County convictions on kidnapping, felonious assault and forgery at the same time.

He has been out of prison since Feb. 2, 2012.

After hearing about Jackson's lengthy criminal history, Norwalk Municipal Court Judge John Ridge set the defendant's total bond at $185,000.

"I worked at Smiley's Automotive. I washed cars," Jackson told the judge about his former 40-hour-per-week job.

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