By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
A California man, Eric Lee Strait, 23, is in federal custody on charges of robbing the Jamestown State Bank four years ago.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Monday that Strait, Riverside, Calif., was arrested late last week in Riverside. He is charged in U.S. District Court in Topeka with one count of bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during the robbery.
An indictment alleges that on Nov. 14, 2008, Strait robbed the Jamestown State Bank, 422 Walnut in Jamestown. Grissom said the case has been under investigation since the crime occurred. A sealed indictment charging Strait was filed on June 27, 2012. The indictment was unsealed on Nov. 1.
The robbery occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. Randy Rodie, the postmaster at Jamestown at the time, was quoted in the Nov. 14th Blade-Empire as saying he saw the robber walk into the bank wearing camouflage and carrying a shotgun and black bag.
A witness who was in the bank at the time, Steve Garman, said the robber was wearing a black ski mask when he walked into the bank, threw a duffel bag on the counter, and asked for all the money in the drawers. Garman said that the robber was carrying a shotgun, and left the bank with all the money from the teller's drawers. He then left the scene in a four-door car.
The case was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation later that day.
If convicted, Strait faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the bank robbery charge. He also faces a penalty of not less than seven years and not more than life and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence.
Cloud County Sheriff Brian Marks said his office has been working the last four years with the FBI and the KBI and conducting interviews to help solve the case.
"We've spent countless man hours over the last four years assisting the KBI and FBI to obtain enough information to get a warrant for his arrest," Marks said. "It was a very delicate case that took a long time to put together."
The FBI, the KBI and the Cloud County Sheriff's Office investigated the robbery. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.