Man, 46, arrested just minutes after Ambridge bank is robbed
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A Beaver County man who once set high school football rushing records was arrested at the end of a two-minute foot chase Thursday morning, after he robbed a bank because he was struggling to pay for food, clothing and housing.
Keith L. Fisher, a standout Ambridge High School player in the 1980s who went on to play at Michigan State University, was arraigned late Thursday night on robbery and theft charges and held on $50,000 bail. Online court records show that his criminal record stretches back to at least 1998 and includes convictions on theft, robbery and drug charges.
"It almost seemed like he was relieved" to be arrested, acting Ambridge police Chief James Mann told KDKA-TV. "He's had a hard time getting a job because of his criminal record. He's just down and out."
Ambridge police received a call from dispatch at about 10:15 a.m. for a report that a man in a gray shirt and blue mask had walked into the Huntingdon Bank in the 700 block of Merchant Street, pointed a gun at a teller and ran away with money.
Two officers -- one from Ambridge and one from Baden -- were across the street when the call came in and watched as the man ran east out of the bank and fled toward a nearby porch.
Another officer zipped in front of the chase and found the man, later identified as Mr. Fisher, changing his clothing on a porch in the 600 block of Melrose Avenue. Next to him was a cooler containing a white plastic bag with $5,548 -- the amount stolen from the bank -- and what appeared at first to be a black, semi-automatic pistol, according to a criminal complaint.
Officers later determined that the weapon was a realistic-looking pellet gun -- similar to the one an East Liberty teenager was carrying when he was fatally shot during a confrontation with a sheriff's deputy Wednesday morning.
Officers took Mr. Fisher, 46, to the Ambridge police station, where he signed a statement saying he had robbed the bank.
Keeping with normal protocol for investigating bank robberies, an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was called to assist, and Chief Mann said it's possible Mr. Fisher will face additional charges in a federal court at a later date.
Mr. Fisher has rotated in and out of jail during the past few years, sometimes on charges for fresh crimes and sometimes on parole or probation violations, the chief said. The former standout graduated from Ambridge High School in 1984 as the leading rusher in Western Pennsylvania, according to newspaper accounts at the time. Michigan State records posted online show that he played in 11 games in 1984 and nine games in 1985. More than 25 years later, on Thursday morning, he was slightly easier to catch.
"I don't know of anybody," the chief said, "that caught a bank robber two minutes after he robbed a bank."
First Published June 15, 2012 12:00 am