Suspected bank robber tackled by police

A man who allegedly robbed the Bank of America Monday was tackled by an Ashland police officer and arrested with the loot less than 10 minutes later.

Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said the man entered the bank at 2305 Ashland St. shortly before noon and "indicated he had a weapon." The robber then snatched an undisclosed amount of cash from the teller and pedaled away on a bicycle, Holderness said.

The man held his hand in his pocket to simulate having a weapon, police said.

A teller alerted police at 11:58 a.m. after the robber left the bank, said Holderness.

"The bank called and we got a direction of travel," Holderness said. "We all get in our cars and run out to try and saturate the area for a call like that."

Police spotted a man fitting the robber's description near where Clear Creek Drive meets Clay Street and began chasing him, Holderness said. The man had shed a sweatshirt and hat he wore during the robbery and had ditched his bike a few blocks away, police said.

The pursuit ended after Deputy Chief Corey Falls chased the man through a thicket of blackberry bushes and a creek before tackling him in a field behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the intersection of Clay and East Main streets, Holderness said.

The arrest was made seven minutes after the robbery, Holderness said.

Police identified the robber as Jason L. Swindler, 42, of Medford. He is lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of second-degree robbery, interfering with a peace officer and first-degree aggravated theft, jail records show. His bail is set at more than $1 million.

"It was good work by everybody," Holderness said. "I'm glad we were able to get him in custody."

Holderness said Swindler does not match the description of a suspect who robbed the same bank and escaped on March 9. That robbery is still under investigation.

Ashland police will contact other agencies working on unsolved bank robberies to be sure Swindler doesn't match other descriptions, Holderness said.

Swindler was arrested two hours before he was scheduled to appear in Jackson County drug court on a felony charge of delivering heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, court records show. He also was convicted of a felony charge of possessing heroin in 2011.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.

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