A Monroeville man suspected of robbing two area businesses was arrested at gunpoint and without incident Monday night.
Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said state Highway Patrol troopers and Oberlin police made the arrest about 9:30 p.m. Monday near the intersection of U.S. 20 and Ohio 58.
The suspect, Robert Lee Jackson Jr., 52, was driving back from Cleveland when he was arrested, Light said.
Jackson was caught with “drugs and significant amount of cash in the vehicle,” the chief added.
Jackson is the main suspect in the Saturday morning robbery at the Firelands Credit Union branch in Monroeville and the Monday morning robbery of East Side Fuel in Norwalk.
(NOTE - Pictures of the crime scenes can be seen HERE.)
Light attributed Jackson’s arrest to good police work and cooperation between departments, which included the Huron County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies were searching the area all evening, Light said.
“I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have a good working relationship with the other agencies,” Light said.
“It’s a huge relief” that Jackson is in custody, Light said.
Local authorities had notified law enforcement agencies in adjacent counties to be on the lookout for the suspect.
One of the reasons for their heightened concern was Jackson’s mindset.
During the Norwalk robbery, he told one of the clerks that this would be his last day.
“He apparently was expecting the worst when we caught up with him,” Light said.
Also, for someone to rob a local credit union and then turn around and a rob a local gas station two days later, their mental state could be called into question, Light said.
“You’d think most people would be gone by now,” the chief added.
“The public safety concern there was very high. He’s obviously a dangerous man.”
Light said his department was “working on pinging (Jackson’s) cell phone, tracking him wherever he was going.”
“Pinging” refers to the practice of using cell towers to determine a cell phone carrier’s location. When a person travels, he or she can be tracked though the identification of the towers to which the signal bounces. The phone will send signals to the closest tower, even if the phone is not in use.
Two people in dispatch were working constantly on that process Monday, staying in contact with Jackson’s cell phone provider.
A Cleveland police officer assisted Norwalk police during the search.
That officer kept “going to every location they could get a ping,” Light said.
Jackson, however, managed to escape capture in Cleveland.
After 9 p.m., police determined Jackson was heading westbound from Cleveland, on his way back to Huron County — likely after buying drugs, Light said.
Dispatcher Tacy Bond “with a phone in each hand was able to get a location on him,” Light said.
State Highway Patrol troopers and Oberlin police then were poised to make the arrest, which they did.
“It’s amazing how everyone pulled together on this thing,” Light said.
Several Norwalk police officers then traveled to the Oberlin area to take custody of Jackson and bring him and his vehicle back to Norwalk.
Late Monday afternoon, Norwalk and Monroeville police officers as well as two FBI agents secured a warrant to search Jackson’s Monroe Street residence.
The FBI became involved in the case because of the credit union robbery.
Light said officers were looking for information indicating that Jackson may have pre-planned the robberies. They were also looking for “any information that might point to his mindset.”
Light said officers found “some phone numbers and photos, but nothing significant.” He added officers were inside the house about an hour.
The chief said authorities found no evidence of drug abuse during the search.
Again saying it was a “great team effort,” Light thanked everyone in his department and the other agencies who helped in the investigation.
He said he wanted to get the name of the Cleveland police officer who assisted so he could send him a thank-you card.