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Prater

Teller abducted from Winona Lake bank; suspect in custody

Police said a Winona Lake man has been arrested after abducting a bank teller at knifepoint this morning -- and the teller volunteered herself instead of a co-worker.

No one was injured.

Matthew Lee Prater, 32, was being held without bond in the Kosciusko County Jail in Warsaw on kidnapping and criminal confinement charges, Winona Lake police said in a statement.

The statement said police responded to a 911 call from Lake City Bank's Winona Lake branch about 9:15 a.m. on a report of a possible abduction.

It said bank employees told them a man entered the bank, directed his attention to a teller and produced a knife. There were no customers in the bank at the time, but the other teller volunteered to be removed rather than the one initially approached, the statement said.

While checking the apartment complex north of the bank, it said, Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker saw Prater, a habitual felony offender, looking out his window.

Officers secured the complex and deployed the Kosciusko City/County SWAT Team, the statement said. During the negotiations, it said, team members decided to enter the apartment, and removed Prater and the teller without incident.

In the statement, Winona Lake Police Chief Paul Schmitt said Prater had spoken of a "revolution" to neighbors, and police believe he was under the influence of alcohol. Crime-scene investigators found a pocket knife used in the abduction as well as alcoholic beverages in the apartment, the statement said.

Winona Lake police were assisted by Warsaw police, Indiana State Police and the county sheriff's department, the statement said.

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