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Published: Wednesday, 10/12/2011

Cell-phone photo leads to arrests after robbery

Heather Beasley, left, and Steven Perales. Heather Beasley, left, and Steven Perales.

GENOA -- Two suspects in an Ottawa County bank robbery yesterday were arrested later in the day by Northwood police who saw their vehicle and matched one of them with information from a bank employee's cell-phone photograph, Sheriff Stephen Levorchick said.

Charged in the robbery of Genoa Bank, 24950 State Rt. 51, are Heather Beasley, 24, and Steven Perales, 45, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office. Both were held last night in the Ottawa County jail pending court appearances.

Authorities do not have a last-known address for Ms. Beasley, but a Facebook profile says she lives in Wooster, Ohio, which is about 150 miles southeast of Toledo. Mr. Perales' last-known address is 450 Georgetown Drive in Oregon.

Sheriff Levorchick said that as Ms. Beasley held up a teller, another bank employee who was engaged in paperwork in the lobby realized what was happening and took a picture of the suspect with her cell phone.

That picture "was one of the key components of information to help us identify the suspect," the sheriff said after praising the employee's quick thinking to snap the photo. "I wouldn't think of that," he said.

He declined to identify the employee, for her safety.

After the robbery, Genoa police broadcast a description of the suspect and the vehicle, which fled out on State Rt. 51 toward Northwood.

Northwood police stopped a vehicle that matched the getaway car's description at Brown Road and Wheeling Street.

At first, only Mr. Perales was seen in the vehicle, but Ms. Beasley "was also found," authorities said.

Ms. Beasley and Mr. Perales were each charged with one count of aggravated robbery.

After the arrests, the Ottawa County Drug Task Force assisted in obtaining and executing search warrants for a hotel where Ms. Beasley was staying as well as for the suspects' vehicle, the sheriff's department said.

The FBI, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and a Port Clinton police detective also participated in the investigation.

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