Man Accused in Bank Robbery to be Tried in Federal Court

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

An Iowa CIty Police Officer and a Hills Bank Employee tape off the bank's parking lot after a robbery Monday, April 23, 2012 in Iowa City. The alleged suspect was apprehended new Willow Creek Park after an hour long chase and search in Southwest Iowa City. (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Belinda Yeung

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A Davenport man accused in April of robbing an Iowa City bank with a loaded gun and leading officers on a chase that forced schools into lockdown is scheduled to be tried in federal court on Nov. 5.

Eric Martin, 35, has been charged in federal court with armed bank robbery, possession of a firearm in furtherance of bank robbery and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He could be sentenced to spend decades in federal prison.

Because Martin is being tried in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Iowa, his trial will be held in Davenport.

According to documents filed in federal court, Martin is accused of entering Hills Bank and Trust Co., 1401 S. Gilbert St., about 9:30 a.m. April 23 and demanding money from the tellers. Surveillance video captured the robbery, and according to the documents, Martin is seen threatening bank employees and customers with a loaded 9-millimeter gun, pointing it at the faces of several people.

Officers saw Martin leave the scene on a motorcycle, and they followed him as he drove “recklessly on sidewalks, through residential yards and on bike trails,” according to a criminal complaint.

When his motorcycle became inoperable, he tried to run away on foot, police reported. The pursuit ended in a residential yard, and Martin is accused of trying to pull his loaded handgun on police, according to a complaint.

Officers knocked him to the ground and took him into custody before he could succeed in pulling the weapon, the complaint states. The gun was loaded with a round chambered, police reported.

According to a federal affidavit, at the time of Martin’s arrest, he was in possession of a backpack containing the gun and $23,295 in cash, including several bait bills from the bank robbery.

Martin was treated for minor injuries at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and two officers also suffered minor injuries in the pursuit.

It’s unknown at this time whether authorities suspect Martin is connected with any other bank robberies in the area.

Martin has a long criminal history in Iowa, starting with his first felony conviction in the state in June 1997 at age 20. He was convicted of theft and other charges and sentenced to five years in prison at that time.
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