Still in pursuit of bank robbery suspect

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

Police are still searching for a man they believe is responsible for robbing a North Main Street bank and calling in a bomb threat to Bowling Green City Schools on Friday.

Bowling Green resident Joel Kenneth Westfall, 27, is being sought by authorities on charges of aggravated robbery and making a terroristic threat.

Westfall is suspected of calling city school officials shortly before 11:05 a.m. on Friday and telling them that bombs had been planted in their school buildings.

All schools in the district were placed on lockdown for about an hour as police searched the buildings, Bowling Green police Lt. Ken Fortney said.

No bombs were found. Fortney said Westfall likely made the call to distract police from his alleged robbery of the Huntington Bank branch at 1050 N. Main St. less than a half an hour later.

‘There’s reason to believe the bomb threats were a diversion because of the close time and proximity to the bank robbery,’ Fortney said.

Police said Westfall entered the bank with a semi-automatic pistol at 11:25 a.m. He threatened the tellers, demanded money and then fled from the scene in a black Dodge pick up truck with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The abandoned truck was later found by Wood County Sheriff’s deputies on Union Hill Road, just outside of Bowling Green.

Police are continuing to look for Westfall, who they describe as a 5-foot-11-inch, 165-pound white male with brown hair and blue eyes.

On Friday night, members of the Wood County Sheriff’s Special Response Team raided Westfall’s apartment at 839 Seventh St., taking evidence away from the scene, Fortney said.

On Saturday morning, authorities found Westfall’s 1999 Oldsmobile Alero. Though police initially said Westfall might have been traveling in the car, Fortney said yesterday that it was unlikely the suspect had the car after the robbery.

Anyone with information regarding Westfall’s whereabouts is asked to call Bowling Green police at 419-352-1131 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME.