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Bank robbery suspect arrested

Ethan Nelson-David Spray
Ethan Nelson-David Spray

Local law enforcement officials have arrested a man they suspect robbed banks in Packwood and Hedrick over the summer.

Ethan Nelson-David Spray of Ottumwa was charged with robbery in the first degree in both Jefferson County (Packwood) and Keokuk County (Hedrick). Robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony under Iowa law and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

At approximately 1:13 p.m. on June 1, the Pilot Grove Savings Bank in Packwood was robbed at gunpoint by a male subject that displayed a black handgun. The subject escaped the Packwood area, though Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies were able to gather valuable evidence from witnesses.

Two months later on Aug. 6, the South Ottumwa Savings bank in Hedrick was also robbed at gunpoint by a male whose description and style had many similarities to the bank robber in Packwood. Jefferson County deputies assisted at this crime scene as well.

On Aug. 16, search warrants were obtained by the Wapello County and Jefferson County Sheriff’s offices for two residences in Ottumwa. Information gained from those search warrants led to six more warrants being obtained by Jefferson County for outbuildings, vehicles and a residence in Mt. Pleasant.

As a result of the investigation and evidence collected at both the Packwood and Hedrick bank robberies, authorities arrested Spray.

Assisting in the investigation of the Packwood robbery were the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, Keokuk County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ottumwa Police Department, Southeast Iowa Interagency Drug Task Force, Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.

A criminal charge is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and if found guilty in a court of law.