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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Scene of Wednesday's robbery attempts at Southgate Plaza Shopping Center.

Passersby stop suspect in robbery

FORT WAYNE – A 60-year-old man who tried to commit back-to-back robberies Wednesday afternoon at a bank and liquor store in Southgate Plaza was caught with the help of two young men, Fort Wayne police said.

James A. Howell, of Fort Wayne, faces preliminary charges of robbery, attempted robbery and battery.

According to police, Howell went into Chase Bank at 204. E. Pettit St. and gave a note demanding large bills to a teller. When the teller would not give him money, Howell left the bank, police said.

He then went two doors down to Belmont Beverage, 134 E. Pettit St., where he punched a cashier, a middle-aged woman, several times in the chest and took an undetermined amount of cash. He ran from the store, going north toward the Salvation Army, police said.

Police officers were dispatched to the scene about 1:45 p.m. Two young men walking near Southgate Plaza held Howell, who was unarmed, until officers arrived, police said.

Police no weapon was ever implied displayed or recovered in connection with these incidents.

aingersoll@jg.net

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