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Sock Hat Bandit Arrested in Latonia After Robbing Independence Bank

The so-called Sock Hat Bandit is now in police custody.

The man who has plagued Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana by robbing more than 10 banks in recent months, set police on a chase Thursday afternoon after he allegedly robbed the 5/3 Bank branch on Declaration Drive in Independence. The chase triggered a multi-vehicle wreck on 3L Highway near I-275, and the suspected robber continued to Latonia where he ultimately crashed his vehicle into some trees on Beech Avenue near Ninth District School.

After bailing from the vehicle and fleeing on foot, officers swiftly caught up to him and arrested him.

The suspect, Covington Police Lt. Col. Rob Nader said, is on his way to be questioned by investigators.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $5,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of the so-called Sock Hat Bandit. Among his targets were banks in Bellevue and Hebron in Northern Kentucky. This week, police in Connersville, Indiana, indicated that a bank robbery there was likely the work of the same suspect.

At a news conference at the Independence city building, Captain John Lonaker did not directly confirm that the suspect is the Sock Hat Bandit but said that it was "a strong possibility" and that the FBI was taking the lead on the investigation.

No one was injured in the pursuit on 3L, Lonaker said. He thanked other police agencies for their assistance, including Covington which captured him, and Ft. Wright, Lakeside Park, Taylor Mill, and Kenton County. Details from Bellevue Police on the vehicle the suspect was driving helped an Independence officer identify the suspect on 3L just after the 5/3 was robbed, Lonaker said. When the officer put on his emergency lights, the suspect started to flee.

Lonaker said that when the Independence bank was robbed, the suspect had a hat on but that it was not the infamous sock hat that was seen in surveillance images shared by other police departments investigating his robberies.

The suspect's name was not released. A news release is expected from the FBI at 5 p.m., Lonaker said.

The River City News is monitoring the early investigation and will update this story as we know more.

-Staff report

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Suspect's car ended up in trees in Latonia (by Blake Brown)