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Leffler: Jackson put 'people in a freezer' during '97 bar robbery

Cary Ashby • Feb 20, 2013 at 10:50 PM

A Monroeville man now accused of committing two Huron County robberies in less than two days led Nevada authorities on a high-speed chase after a local bar robbery many years ago.

Robert L. Jackson Jr., 52, has been out of prison since Feb. 2, 2012. (NOTE - To read about his recent alleged crimes and arrest, click HERE.)

He served 15 1/2 years at the Lorain Correctional Institution for robbery and aggravated robbery. The convictions were for an incident at TJ's Bar on Jefferson Street.

"He placed some people in the freezer," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler recalled Tuesday about the crime.

The victims were freed later, Leffler said, but Jackson "locked them in the freezer."

In Erie County about that same time, Jackson forced a woman to withdraw money from her account, Leffler said. The man also reportedly robbed two Monroeville businesses and assaulted his ex-girlfriend, whom he held captive.

"He left the area in this case and went to Nevada. There was a high-speed chase," Leffler said about the highway pursuit that reached speeds of about 80 mph.

"He went to the jail there for a while," said Leffler, who also remembered difficulties with extraditing Jackson to Ohio.

On July 7, 1997, Jackson pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated robbery in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

Two weeks later, Judge Earl McGimpsey, who is now retired, sentenced Jackson to 15 1/2 years in prison. He ran the prison term concurrent to Erie County convictions on kidnapping, felonious assault and forgery.

Before Jackson was sentenced, Leffler said he sent his chief assistant prosecutor, the late Greg Shell, to Erie County to work out a recommendation for Jackson to get seven to eight years in prison on top of the Huron County term, but he said that didn't work out.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter couldn't recall any details about the case after digging up microfiche for the Reflector. However, Baxter said his chief assistant prosecutor, Mary Ann Barylski, handled the case for his office.

Currently, 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 an incident Monday morning robbery of East Side Fuel in Norwalk.

Two Monroeville officers and three Huron County sheriff's deputies responded to the Monroeville robbery site. An agent with the Ohio Bureau of Investigation processed the scene for as long as 90 minutes.

The FBI sent two agents to Monroeville.

Since it's a bank robbery, Leffler said federal prosecutors could be handling the Monroeville-related case instead of his office.

"They often do that with adults," Leffler said.

"I don't always get a crack at bank robberies," he said. "We end up prosecuting bank robbers who are involved in (other) armed robberies."

While Leffler couldn't recall any earlier bank robberies in Monroeville, he said there was a case in which a woman conned her way out of getting "a fairly significant amount" of money from a teller at Croghan National Bank.

"It was a con. It was a fake check, but that wasn't a robbery," he said.

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