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Iowa City armed robbery suspect in custody

Gregg Hennigan, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

IOWA CITY — A suspect in the armed robbery of an Iowa City bank Monday led officers on an hour-long chase by motorcycle and foot before being apprehended.

Eric Martin, 34, of 1656 W. 42nd St. in Davenport, faces charges of first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm as a felon, interference with official acts with a weapon, carrying weapons and eluding.

Law enforcement was called at 9:32 a.m. for a report of an armed robbery at Hills Bank and Trust Co., 1401 S. Gilbert St.

Police said a man wearing dark clothing entered the bank armed with a handgun and demanded cash from the tellers. After an undisclosed amount of money was placed in a backpack, he left on an off-road motorcycle.

Nearby Johnson County sheriff’s deputies pursued the motorcycle into Benton Hill Park. Officers from several other agencies set up a perimeter, and a team entered the area and found Martin in a wooded area behind the 1100 block of Weeber Circle, which is northwest of the Lodge apartment complex off Highway 1.

The suspect again fled on his motorcycle, and during the ensuing pursuit the motorcycle and a marked Iowa City police squad car collided, disabling the motorcycle, police said.

Martin then fled on foot but was apprehended a short time later in the 1900 block of Woodberry Court, near Willow Creek Park, after a brief struggle, police said.

Martin was treated and released from University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for minor injuries. A news release said he was being held in the Johnson County Jail on a $38,000 bond, but the jail said he had not been booked as of 5:10 p.m.

Two Iowa City police officers suffered minor injuries while taking Martin into custody. No bank employees or other civilians were injured, police said.

The Iowa City Police Department and the FBI are continuing to investigate the robbery, “including determination of Martin’s involvement in three previous Iowa City bank robberies,” according to the news release.

A police official did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The U.S. Bank at 2312 Mormon Trek Blvd. was robbed in February and November, and the MidWestOne Bank at 2233 Rochester Avenue was robbed in December. All three of those incidents occurred after 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Monday’s robbery led to lock-downs at eight Iowa City school district schools for about one hour, and parents were notified with a recorded phone call. The University of Iowa also sent out alert on its system.

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