Accused robber denies stealing cash jar from bluegrass festival

Cary Ashby • Apr 23, 2013 at 7:07 PM

A rural Willard man is accused of severely injuring two people after fleeing the scene while attempting to steal a jar of money at a benefit this weekend.

Jeremy Cooper, 36, of 3418 Townline Road 12, denied part of those allegations at Monday's bond hearing in Norwalk Municipal Court. He is charged with robbery, a second-degree felony punishable by two to eight years in prison.

"Your honor, I didn't steal anything. I did flee the scene," Cooper said via closed-circuit television.

Cooper said he fled the Fitchville Township scene because he was scared by people throwing rocks at him and his vehicle.

Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel outlined the case for the court Monday. He said Cooper stole a jar full of cash from a charity benefit and when the suspect fled the scene, some of the people attending the event attempted to stop the vehicle.

"He ran into some of the them," Christophel told the court.

The vehicle fled northbound on Fitchville River Road just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Huron County Sheriff's Sgt. Chuck Summers and Deputy John Vogel responded to the bluegrass festival, which was part of a fundraiser in Fitchville Township.

"Two people were injured. One had his foot run over by the car," Christopher said after Monday's hearing.

One victim sustained a possible broken foot or ankle, he said, while the other person had a broken finger.

The two men went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center for treatment. Chief Deputy Ted Patrick has said he didn't think the injuries were life-threatening.

Deputies arrested Cooper at the migrant camps on Ohio 598 south of Willard between 10 and 11 p.m. Saturday.

At Monday's hearing, Judge John Ridge asked Cooper if he knew robbery is a serious offense.

"Very serious," said the defendant, who must post a $50,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail.

A second male suspect could be charged in connection with the incident.

"Another individual jumped in the vehicle while the suspect was fleeing," Patrick earlier told the Reflector. "He's being questioned in his role and he may be facing potential charges."

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