Bank robber still at large but Wakonda remains safe

Bank robber still at large but Wakonda remains safe by Lindsay Nelson On Jan. 6, the safe, comfortable town of Wakonda was flooded with cop cars, news reporters and onlookers. They were busy searching out as much information as they could after Wakonda's First Premier Bank was robbed at approximately 11:45 a.m. that day.

It has been approximately a month since the robbery took place and it has left many with unanswered questions. Sheriff Andy Howe came to Wakonda's Community Club on Feb. 4 to answer some of these questions.

Howe explained that the developments of the case had not changed. The description of the bank robber has stayed the same; 5'8", 200 pounds, wearing dark boots, jeans, and a ski mask. Right now, the police are following up on any tips from the public. They know the robber left his vehicle west of town and walked to Wakonda, where he robbed the bank. He then stole Bank Manager Jim Nielsen's pickup and proceeded back to his own vehicle.

The FBI and First Premier Bank have decided not to make public the amount of money stolen in the robbery.

Howe said that they are getting tips from Iowa to west of Wakonda and they still are only looking for one suspect, but are not ruling out the fact that there could be two or more involved in the robbery. When asked how long it could be until the robbery will be solved, Howe said it may take as long as a year and that every tip or bit of information may be helpful.

"We are not ruling out the possibility that the suspect is from Wakonda, but the facts indicate the robber may be from outside of the Wakonda area," Howe said. "These cases take time but the case will remain open until solved. In the meantime I think Wakonda is still safe."

Another question that the community may be wondering is if the bank is taking any extra precautions now and how the employees were affected after the bank robbery. Bank Manager Jim Nielsen said, "The employees had to go through a certain amount of emotional impact but they followed their procedure and we are very glad that no one got hurt. As far as extra precautions go, the procedures in place before the robbery are the same today as they were before."

The First Premier Bank thanks the community for all of the letters, telephone calls and support.

Anyone with information about the bank robbery should contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office at (605) 677-7100.

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