CHILLICOTHE – Bank robbers promptly sentenced to prison following a crime spree
A recent bank robbery in Zanesville was just one part of a spree that began on April 11 in Canal Winchester in Franklin County when two individuals entered into a bank and handed a note to the teller demanding money. After making off with the cash, James A.R. Jones and Travis Mettler drove Lindsay Williams’ car back to their apartment in Lancaster to split the money with their partners, having Amber Morrison do the accounting.
The robbers then drove to Akron to visit Jones’ child. On the way, their vehicle broke down, and, as it turns out, their criminal conspiracy began to fall apart. The four visited for a number of days and then had to purchase a vehicle specifically a 2002 Nissan Maxima with duct tape and rust in various locations.
On their way home to Lancaster, they searched on the internet for the location of a Zanesville bank farthest from the police station. The females dropped the males off at a Zanesville bank where they presented a robbery demand note. Outside, in a nearby church parking lot, the women were waiting when they were confronted by church employees and told to move. Inside, the bank tellers were confused by the men’s actions and gave them no money. The men fled without a dime, back to the waiting car. Over the course of the next seven days, the four were involved in two additional robberies, one in Newark and one in Chillicothe.
Detectives John McElhaney and Chris Andrews with the Zanesville Police Department worked quickly to gather surveillance video, search every 2002 Nissan Maxima in the state, nail down the moment the group obtained their temporary tag and retrieve both the video of all four at the BMV and the sale photographs of the Maxima from the auto- auction showing the duct tape and rust right where it belonged.
All four counties involved, Franklin, Ross, Licking, and Muskingum, worked together to combine their investigations into a single pattern of corrupt activity prosecution and agreed to file the case in Muskingum County. The four criminal conspirators agreed to plead guilty to a prosecutor’s bill of information. Less than a month after their crime spree began, and in less than two weeks after their crime in Zanesville, the four appeared in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court to answer for their crimes.
James A.R. Jones was sentenced to 15 to 20-and-a-half years in prison, plus the remaining three years left on his parole
Travis Mettler was sentenced to 12 to 16 years in prison
Amber Morrison was sentenced to 8 to 12 years in prison
Lindsay Williams was sentenced to 6 to 9 years in prison.
Quickly resolving a case this serious is important for a number of reasons. Punishment for the crimes protects the community for a significant number of years, and the speed with which the case was resolved saves taxpayer dollars. Finally, the swift resolution minimizes the stress experienced by victims and witnesses and reassures the public that their safety is a top priority in our community.