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Suspect nabbed by bank heist task force after DNA allegedly found on gun, mask

Friday, May 17, 2013 - 7:39 am

Members of multiple law enforcement agencies early Thursday morning arrested a suspect in a February bank robbery and another attempted robbery at a credit union in March -- and it was what he allegedly left behind at the scene of the crime that helped investigators identify him.

Christopher R. Seals, 22, was taken into custody without incident around 2:30 a.m. in an apartment in the 2200 block of Bowser Avenue, according to information released by the Indiana State Police. He faces two counts of federal bank robbery charges, a federal weapons violation charge, and another federal count of possession of a weapon while committing a crime.

According to a news release from the FBI, Seals was charged on May 3 in the Feb. 14 robbery of the PNC Bank at 5610 Coventry Lane, as well as the attempted robbery on March 13 of the Three Rivers Federal Credit Union at at 5005 Bluffton Road.

The news release from the Indiana State Police said that Seals was located due to information gleaned from people at other residences that were being searched.

While Seals is alleged to be involved in the robberies, he can't have been the only person. According to previously released information, three men who had covered their faces and were wearing hooded sweat shirts, as well as being armed with handguns, robbed the PNC branch sometime after 9 a.m. on Feb. 14.

In that incident, the robbers, then described as around 5 feet 10 inches tall and black, made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

According to information released at the time of the robbery and in the federal complaint, however, one of the men left behind a handgun at the bank, a Smith & Wesson .38. DNA samples taken from cartridges taken from the weapon allegedly came back a match in the federal database of offenders to Seals.

The federal complaint goes on to claim that Seals was also identified as one of the robbers by a person who was in custody on an unrelated charge and that DNA on an abandoned mask near the Three Rivers Federal Credit Union also came back as a match.

In that incident, three men were reportedly spotted laying on their stomachs in a wooded area near the financial institution, inching closer. The three men reportedly fled when approached by the person who spotted them.

However, a K-9 track at the scene led to two masks being found: A white, "hockey-style" mask with black straps, and a black mask that was a stocking cap with eye-holes cut into them.

Seals' DNA was allegedly on the black, stocking cap mask, according to the federal complaint.