Wednesday, March 21, 2018 Elyria 32°

Cops and Courts

Kroffke indicted in federal court in connection with Grafton bank robbery

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    Matthew Kroffke



A Medina County man is facing federal armed bank robbery charges in connection with the robbery of the Chemical Bank in Grafton last Friday.

Matthew Kroffke, 36, of Liverpool Township, was arrested in Toledo earlier this week on a warrant issued by Grafton police for his alleged role in the robbery.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, FBI agents say Kroffke entered Chemical Bank, 351 Main St., and robbed the bank at gunpoint.

Surveillance video obtained from the bank showed a white male wearing a gray zip-up hoodie, a camouflage mask that appeared to be a neoprene type of material covering the robber’s face from the nose down and gray sweatpants with a navy stripe down the side enter the bank with a small handgun drawn, the affidavit said. Four women were working in the bank when the man entered, three tellers and a manager.

FBI agents interviewed the bank tellers, who stated the suspect entered the bank yelling, “Let me see your hands,” and ordered the manager out of her office. The suspect told the tellers they had 30 seconds to give him all the big bills and began counting down.

“While the suspect counted down, he paced back and forth in front of the counter teller and placed his gun in the tellers’ faces and had his finger on the trigger,” FBI Special Agent Lisa Hack said in the affidavit. “As he paced, he grabbed the money the tellers put on the counter and stuffed it into his pockets. When he got to 2, he said ‘thank you’ and left the bank on foot.”

A witness told agents, he saw a man running down the street in a hoodie and a mask. The witness said the man ran toward a bright blue hatchback-type vehicle parked at the Lucky Knight, located beside Chemical Bank.

The bank manager locked the front door after the suspect left.

She then went to the bank’s side door where she saw the suspect run toward and enter a vehicle, the affidavit said. The manager was able to take photos of the vehicle with her phone as it pulled out of the parking lot of Lucky Knight.

The pictures taken by the manager showed a blue SUV with white decals on the rear driver’s side window.

About 11 a.m., a Grafton police officer stopped a blue Ford SUV with white decals on the rear driver’s side window as it was driving away from the direction of the bank. The officer identified Kroffke as the driver. Kroffke told the officer he was from Toledo but visiting his parents.

Grafton police did not have a full description of the vehicle or the suspect at the time, according to the affidavit and the officer let Kroffke drive away.

Grafton Police Chief Dan Clark did not return calls requesting comment on why Kroffke was pulled over or why he was allowed to drive away.

On Monday, FBI agents located Kroffke on Facebook and noticed that in one of his photos he was wearing a gray zip-up hoodie similar to the worn in the bank robbery. Agents also obtained photographs from Grafton police of the vehicle stopped immediately after the robbery. The decals on the vehicle parked by the bank matched those of the vehicle driven by Kroffke, the affidavit said.

The FBI ran the plates of the vehicle driven by Kroffke through the Law Enforcement Automated Database System and found the vehicle was registered to Brian Kroffke of Station Road in Medina.

Agents spoke to a neighbor who lived next door to Brian Kroffke who said Brian and his wife, Nancy, lived in the home with their adult son, Matthew. The neighbor said Matthew Kroffke had moved back in with his parents sometime over the summer.

The neighbor also said Nancy Kroffke usually drove a blue SUV.

Agents then spoke with Nancy Kroffke at her place of employment in Brunswick. Nancy Kroffke was shown photos of the blue SUV that was stopped by Grafton police and parked at the Lucky Knight beside the bank and positively identified the vehicle as hers and said it was currently being driven by her son Matthew.

When agents spoke with Brian Kroffke, he told them his son had called him and said he was “in big trouble” and on his way home.

Brian and Nancy Kroffke provided agents consent to search their home for evidence relating to the bank robbery. Agents located and photographed a money band from Chemical Bank dated Feb. 22, 2018, and three neoprene camouflage masks in the bedroom used by Matthew Kroffke. A black .22-caliber handgun was found in the top drawer of the dresser in Brian Kroffke’s bedroom.

Matthew Kroffke was arrested in Toledo on Tuesday and extradited to Lorain County. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Elyria Municipal Court on Thursday, but the charges were dismissed due to pending federal charges.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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