FLASH: Shots fired by robber at ''no-guns'' First Merit bank

September 2, 2004
Akron Beacon Journal

LAKEMORE - Police are investigating the Wednesday robbery of the FirstMerit Bank at 1502 Canton Road.

Police said that a lone gunman wearing a black ski mask and sunglasses told tellers at 9 a.m. to put money into a bag he had brought with him.

He fired a shot from a small-caliber semiautomatic pistol at one of the tellers, just missing her, then ran north from the bank to Stinard Avenue, where an older model tan Toyota Camry was waiting for him.

When two bank customers chased him, he fired shots at them, too, also missing.

While getting into the car, the dye pack with the money went off and he dropped the bag and money.

On July 22, following another First Merit robbery in Garfield Heights, a First Merit employee told OFCC:

    "Over and over we are robbed, and one day someone is going to be hurt or killed. But they will not even consider the safety of their employees or their customers. They think and claim that they are, but it never fails - this happens and they are helpless to stop it. This robbery is another perfect example of them being helpless in protecting us, leaving us helpless to do it ourselves."

Pictured at right is a photo of the Garfield Heights "no-guns signs". The red sign in the background was posted after the robbery - "This office closed temporarily due to an emergency. We regret the inconvenience."

"We've tried and tried to tell them - posting signs will not keep out armed criminals, and may even provide them incentive," remarked Jeff Garvas, OFCC President. "When it became clear that bank management was unwilling to put the safety of their patrons ahead of imaginary liability concerns, OFCC began the process of moving our accounts, just as many other Ohioans have moved their business away from businesses who deny their self-defense rights. First Merit is proving to be a very unsafe place to do business."

Ohio has one of the highest bank robbery rates in the nation. The Ohio Banker's League is distributing instructions on how banks can ban CHL-holders. Did anyone honestly think the bank robbers would honor the signs?

FirstMerit has been serving Northeastern Ohio for over 155 years, and purchased branches in Western Pennsylvania in the past decade. Pennsylvania has had a concealed carry law since the late 80's, and up until frustrated Ohio customers began pointing out the hypocracy, these stores have never been posted with discriminatory signs.

Customer Contact Center - 1-888-554-4362
In the Akron area, please call 330-996-6025.
Email: [email protected].
(If you would like to hear back from a FirstMerit customer representative, please indicate that in your message.)

Related Stories:
Another ''no-guns'' First Merit robbery; Branch once held OFCC's accounts

Medina victim sues man who robbed her at First Merit ATM

First Merit: Another armed robbery in ''gun-free'' bank

FIVE: FirstMerit victim zone robbed again

Ironic timing for FirstMerit bank to begin posting discriminatory signs

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