Case of suspect who allegedly robbed bank after buying engagement ring goes to grand jury

A Butler County grand jury will now consider the case of a Trenton man charged with robbing a bank last month.

Dustin F. Pedersen, 36, is charged with aggravated robbery for allegedly robbing the Fifth Third Bank on Dec. 16. According to Trenton police, he presented his girlfriend with ring the next day. Police believe that could be a motive for the robbery.

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Pedersen was in court today for a preliminary hearing, during which Trenton police recounted evidence gathered against Pedersen.

Detective Sean Gill said records from Zales jewelry store indicate that Pedersen purchased a ring worth just under $4,500 less than an hour after the Dec. 16 robbery at Fifth Third bank on State Street.

The robber walked into the bank and began pacing, according to witnesses Gill talked with. He was wearing glasses, a jacket, white gloves and an orange Titleist hat.

“He passed a note asking for $20,000 with no dye packs,” Gill said. He also indicated he had a bomb strapped to himself.

As the teller counted out the money, the robber grabbed the first stack and ran, Gill said. He got $8,800.

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Pedersen was not developed as a suspect until the Dec. 22 bank robbery of US Bank on Tylers Place Boulevard, Gill said. He received a call from a woman who said Pedersen was on Facebook wearing hats that the robber in both heists had on.

A neighbor’s outdoor security cameras caught Pedersen leaving the residence on the morning of Dec. 16 wearing the same clothing as the robber.

West Chester police also have issued a warrant for Pedersen’s arrest in connection with the US Bank robbery.

Gill said Pedersen denied robbing the Trenton bank but admitted the bank photos of the robber do look like him. He said he got money from his mother via Western Union for $2,000. But Gill said that story did not check out.

During questioning by Pedersen’s attorney Jim Cooney, Gill said there are jail phone calls between Pedersen and his fiance about the bank robberies.

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Found in a car driven by Pedersen were the sunglasses, gloves and hats police believe he wore in the robberies, Gill said.

Pedersen has been held in the Middletown City Jail since Dec. 16 on $250,000 bond. He will now be transferred to the Butler County Jail to await grand jury consideration of his case.

Cooney declined comment after the hearing.

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