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Shelter in place issued as police seek bank robbery suspect

Posted at 2:23 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 20:15:30-04

Developing update: Oconomowoc police told TMJ4 News on Wednesday there is an active police investigation near the YMCA at Pabst Farms and a nearby baseball field. Officials did not say if it is connected to the crime spree that rocked the area on Tuesday.

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OCONOMOWOC - Some residents of Oconomowoc were asked to shelter in place by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department Tuesday, as law enforcement search for a suspect in an armed bank robbery.

Law enforcement issued three public alerts to residents' phones Tuesday, alerting them to shelter in place and releasing some information regarding the suspect.

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The second alert issued by the sheriff's department.
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The third alert issued by law enforcement Tuesday.

The first public safety alert reads: "Waukesha County Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies are requesting those in the area of I-94 and Golden Lake Road (Oconomowoc) shelter in place for an ongoing police incident. Proceed to interior room or basement, lock all exterior doors. When appropriate, an all clear message will be sent."

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Photo from N. Golden Lake and Valley roads in Summit near Oconowowoc
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The City of Oconomowoc Police Department issued a statement overnight in which it released some early details.

Police say officers were dispatched just before 1 p.m. Tuesday to the 200 block of West Second Street for a possible armed robbery. Dispatchers learned soon after that the suspect had left the area on foot in an unknown direction.

Officers then learned of a vehicle left in the 200 block of South Main Street, followed by a hold-up alarm activated at the Waukesha State Bank. Officers confirmed that the suspect in the armed robbery and vehicle theft matched the description of the suspect in the bank robbery, according to the department's statement.

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Officers soon discovered the stolen vehicle and tried to pull it over, but the vehicle crashed off the roadway on westbound I-94 near Golden Lake Road. That is where all lanes were closed for several hours, leading to delays.

From there, the suspect escaped on foot, police say. Officers were notified around 6:23 p.m. - over five hours after the initial call - that another vehicle was reported stolen on Valley Road in Oconomowoc. Police say they believe that vehicle was used to escape.

The suspect remains on the run.

The Vice President of Waukesha State Bank, Stephanie Ohlfs, acknowledged their Oconomowoc branch had been robbed Tuesday afternoon.

"We are thankful that no customers or employees were harmed during the incident and want to commend our Oconomowoc staff for following security protocol. We are working with authorities and doing everything we can to help capture this person as quickly as possible," said Ohlfs.

TMJ4 talked with a woman who says she saw the suspect wearing all black and saw him attack the salon owner.

"She kept wrestling with him. He pushed her to the ground, and when I saw that all happening I ran out here and I just made a lot of noise," said Bonnie Luebke. "I'm just glad everybody's OK. I'm really thankful that everybody's OK."

Luebke also said she would feel better knowing the suspect was caught.

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