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‘Buckeye Bandit’ pleads guilty to eight bank robberies

Earl Rinehart • Mar 7, 2017 at 9:00 PM

The prolific bank robber dubbed the "Buckeye Bandit" pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts of armed bank robbery, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Columbus.

Ikechi W. Emeaghara, 27, of Columbus, has been in custody since Oct. 21, when he became stuck in traffic after robbing the Key Bank on Frantz Road on the Northwest Side. The FBI said Emeaghara threatened bank and credit union employees with a handgun and demanded cash before fleeing. A teller had slipped a GPS device in the cash, which helped lead Columbus police to his vehicle.

Officers pulled him over in a parking lot and shot and wounded him when he pointed a gun at them.

The weapon found in his car turned out to be a BB gun. Police also found more than $53,000.

The moniker "Buckeye Bandit" was given to the robber because he usually wore Ohio State athletic gear during the holdups.

Authorities were investigating possible connections between Emeaghara and at least 20 other central Ohio bank robberies, but he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the Key Bank holdup and these other robberies:

• Oct. 31, 2013 at the Wesbanco Bank on South Stygler Road in Gahanna

• Nov. 30, 2013 at the Cooper State Bank on West 5th Avenue in Columbus

• Dec. 6, 2013 at the Wesbanco Bank on South Stygler Road in Gahanna

• July 9, 2014 at the Smart Federal Credit Union on North High Street in Columbus

• Jan. 12, 2015 at the Cooper State Bank on Sawmill Road in Columbus

• April 26, 2015 at the Cooper State Bank on Sawmill Road in Columbus

• March 17, 2016 at the First Merit Bank on East Powell Road in Powell

Armed robbery is punishable by a mandatory minimum 10 year prison term, with a possible 25-year maximum. A sentencing date has not been set.

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©2017 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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