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Published: Saturday, 8/25/2007

Fugitive bank robber might be in Ohio

Artrip Artrip

MONROE- The search for the blue-eyed fugitive known for robbing banks and great escapes got a shot of adrenaline yesterday.

Anthony Ray Artrip, 35, is believed to have stolen a red 2005 Dodge pickup and may be headed for the Columbus area where he has family.

"We are not saying we are 100 percent sure, but we really do believe that he went into Ohio - and he has family in Columbus," Monroe County sheriff's Detective Jeff Pauli said. "We don't know much, and that's why he's been eluding everyone for the past year. He's good."

The truck has "Dave Duvall & Son" on the side in yellow vinyl letters, and its plate number is ZYT-911.

Artrip slipped through the window of his temporary home in Newport, Mich., Tuesday night as authorities closed in. He is accused of robbing a Monroe Bank & Trust Bank branch in Monroe that day.

Authorities said he also may have robbed a National City Bank branch in Monroe earlier this month.

According to the sheriff's office, Artrip is responsible for more than 20 bank robberies throughout the United States.

Artrip has a history of robbing banks in the morning hours. His method of operation is to vault the teller counter and rob multiple tellers. He has a black, semi-automatic handgun.

"He does not try to disguise himself and is described as being polite, possibly with a southern accent or drawl," an alert from the sheriff's office sent to area departments says. "The majority of the money taken from the Monroe Bank & Trust's robbery has been recovered, and it's believed he's in need of more money and will rob again."

Authorities learned Artrip had a relationship with a women in the Newport area.

"She was completely surprised, said he was a great guy," Detective Pauli said. "She had no idea who he was, that he was a bank robber and a fugitive."

Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Raih said Artrip is known as an "all-around good guy" who is very intelligent and personable. The FBI and U.S. Marshals are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Lt. Troy Goodnough said as long as the Dodge pickup has not been recovered, it is a good bet that Artrip is driving it.

Artrip escaped in June from a Kentucky detention center, where he had been held since he was convicted of robbing banks in Ohio and Florida.

Since his escape, he has been accused of robbing banks in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan, authorities said.

- Benjamin Alexander-Bloch

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