Bank robbery suspect arrested in Arkansas

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

GASSVILLE, Ark. — A search of more than seven months has ended after a man accused of robbing the Grayson National Bank branch in Whitetop, Va., was arrested in Arkansas last week.

Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan said Richard Joseph Bauer, 70, of Junction City, Ore., was arrested last Tuesday while attempting to rob the First National Bank in Gassville.

Vaughan said authorities told him Bauer was still in the bank when officers arrived, and he was arrested without incident by Gassville police.

In a press release, Vaughan said he received a phone call from Capt. Jason Miles of the Virginia State Police last Wednesday evening, informing him that a man matching the description of the Whitetop suspect had been arrested.

Bauer was operating the same kind of silver Toyota Four Runner that witnesses described and security cameras caught an image of in the Whitetop bank robbery. Authorities said Bauer was also wearing the same kind of hat and brown jacket in the Arkansas robbery as the Whitetop suspect wore.

Investigators in Grayson have charged Bauer with two counts of armed robbery, three counts of abduction, grand larceny, display of a firearm in commission of a felony, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

In May, Grayson County deputies were dispatched to the GNB branch in Whitetop after a robbery alarm was activated.

Witnesses said a man — approximately 60 years old and six feet tall — entered the bank and was armed with a handgun.

Authorities said the man held tellers in the rear of the bank and left with an undisclosed amount of money.

Vaughan said Bauer was apparently living in Panama, visiting the U.S. allegedly to rob random banks. Police found his passports to several Central American countries.

During the robbery in Whitetop, authorities believe a female accomplice — described by police as between the ages of 25 and 30, with red hair — was waiting in the parking lot for the man.

Sheriff Vaughan said police were still looking for this woman.