Charges Dropped Against Accused Bank Robber

Friday, February 13th 2009, 6:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A man arrested in connection with a Tulsa bank robbery is trying to clear his name.

Police arrested 29-year-old Jeremiah Statler after an Arvest Bank was robbed Jan. 29. But when Statler's alibi checked out, he was released from jail and the charges were dropped.

Statler said he is glad the ordeal is over but is still coming to grips with being arrested and sitting in jail for six days until the charges were dropped.

It started when police released a surveillance picture of the bank robber from the Arvest Bank near 36th Street and Yale Avenue.

Police received Crime Stoppers tips naming Statler, so they created a photo lineup and other people also picked him out.

The district attorney agreed there was enough probable cause for an arrest warrant, so officers arrested Statler and began asking questions.

"I didn't do it," Statler said. "You can take my DNA, my signature, whatever you gotta do."

Police hear denials all the time. But after Jeremiah told them he was with family in Oologah and Owasso on Jan. 29 and the abili checked out, the case didn't look as strong.

Statler was worried about his future because bank robbers can get 20 years in prison.

"My kids is all I could think about," he said. "Now, my name's ruined, can't get a job anywhere. Nobody is going to hire me because they think I did this."

The DNA tests will take up to a year to come back. Because he had an alibi, police decided to let Statler go, rather than making him sit in jail.

"We certainly do not want the wrong person in prison for something," Sgt. Dave Walker of Tulsa Police said. "We're not about that."

Statler said the worst thing was that everyone saw his face in the media as an accused bank robber.

"I want to clear my name and let everybody know I'm not a good boy, but I didn't do that," he said.

Statler said he went to Labor Finders for a job Friday but was turned away because of the robbery arrest.

Police said if the DNA results show Statler was guilty, they can arrest him again but that justice is better served by releasing him.