Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Well, this post has nothing to do with art. So, if it’s a painting you want to see here today, move along! But if it’s a funny story you need to start your day, here goes:

Late last year there was a bank robbery in Brookville, Indiana. At that time, the story caught my eye. In the latest edition of the paper, a short article stated that the robber was just sentenced to 8 years, but with credit for good behavior he could be out in four years (presumably to do it all over again with skills more finely honed during his time in the pokey!)

You are probably thinking “Big deal, what’s so funny about that?”

I’m going to let the newspaper story tell itself – picture it in your mind and enjoy! When I first read it, I was totally charmed by small town news reporting at its finest! See what you think.

Excerpt from the Brookville Democrat, Tuesday, December 22, 2009
 If there were a class for bank robbers, the first chapter in the accompanying text might contain instructions in how not to put on one’s mask and walk in front of the police station before entering the bank.
That is what police said Jody Selby did before they took him into custody less than two minutes after they said he robbed the First Financial Bank on Main Street in Brookville.
Brookville Police Department Administrative Assistant Linda Ballman said Monday morning started out kind of dull. At about 9:30 that changed.
There is a large picture window in the front of the Brookville Police Department. Ballman’s desk faces the window.
She said she saw a man in a yellow hoodie with a blue-green towel wrapped around his face walk by on Main Street heading south.
Ballman turned to Sgt. Jim Adams and said “I believe that man is going to rob the bank.”
At first, Adams thought Ballman was kidding, but he caught a glimpse of the man and had the same thought.
“It was cold outside, but not that cold,” Ballman said.
Adams went running out the front door and looked south. The man was no longer in sight. Next door to the police station is a laundromat that is closed for remodeling. Next to that is the bank..
Adams made sure the door to the laundromat was still secure and went on to the bank. When he opened the door, he saw the man with the hoodie and towel, raking money off the counter.
According to Joyce A. Ratliff, a customer at the bank, Selby walked up to the counter, put one hand on the counter, left the other in his pocket and said “Give me all your money and nobody will be shot.”
Ratliff, who stands 5 feet tall, tips the scales at 130 and will turn 56 on Saturday, zippered her purse, walked up behind Selby and struck him over the head. He turned from her, and she hit him again.
Adams remained outside with the door open. He told the man he was under arrest.
The man tried to get past Adams, and they scuffled. . . . . .
At first Ratliff, who has lived in Franklin County for four years, gave chase but she saw there were men after Selby. She then turned her attention to the money on Main Street.
Along with Ballman, Ratliff picked up the money on Main Street. Vehicular traffic came to a stand still. . . . . .
Rick Gill owns The Jewelry Inn that just relocated to its present location near the intersection of Sixth and Main, two doors south of First Financial Bank.
He stepped out of his store to walk down to the police station in order to talk to Brookville Police Chief Phil Wietholter about a matter.
Gill is a retired Indiana State Police trooper.
When he emerged from his business, he saw Adams running after Selby and the money flying.
Tim Ripperger, a former Brookville Police officer who now works for the town’s Utilities Department, happened to be in the Rosenberger’s Market parking lot.
He immediately joined the chase.
“I felt like I had two fellow officers with me,” Adams said.
Gill said he looked up and saw Ripperger in the middle of Seventh Street pointing toward a loading dock leading down to a lower level in the Firestone building.
Selby was under the front of the truck parked in the bay.
Adams walked up one side of the truck and Gill the other. With Adams’ gun drawn, Selby was ordered not to move. Handcuffs were placed on him, and he was taken to the Brookville Police Department.
From there, he was booked at the Franklin County Security Center on a charge of Robbery, as a class C felony.
According to Adams, no gun was shown during the crime, and no weapon was found on Selby. More money from the robbery was found in Selby’s pocket . . . . . .
Ratliff said she was not scared during the episode. There were two babies in the bank, and she was scared for their safety. A native of Hazard, Kentucky, she has 19 brothers (emphasis added!!!). Her mother is a retired police officer in North Ft. Myers, Fla.
“I consider this my hometown,” she said. “If people don’t get the riff raff out of town, we won’t have a town to be proud of.”
“I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” she continued.
“We caught the guy, and no one was injured,” Adams said. “That was the important thing.”

Some morals of this story:
Only in a small town can you get ALL the information relating to the police chases.
Apparently our local town is loaded with police, both current and former!
Talk about “Hoosier Hospitality” - it’s nice to know that traffic will politely stop in BOTH DIRECTIONS for anyone scooping up money from the street – I’m sure in New York or somewhere like that not all traffic would stop, and someone would jump in to grab that money and run!
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to keep my purse zipped and ready at all times – just in case I need a deadly weapon. (Left unzipped, mine would become shrapnel!)

And, I’m wondering how many of those 19 brothers survived to adulthood!


RHCarpenter said...

ROFLAL!!! Deb, this is sooo funny and so true - only in a small town - and good job on that KY woman who didn't take no guff! There have been several incidences of this - always an older woman fighting off a young "punk" lately. Good thing grandmas aren't given guns!

Christiane Kingsley said...

Thank you for the chuckle, Deb. I almost feel sorry for that doomed bank robber :-)

Gaylynn said...

Great story Deb. Our small town has a recent one...Lots of vandalism and smash and grabs that led up to the robber robbing a local gas station/mini mart. He took the cash drawer and some small items. Left the building went behind to the dumpster and threw drawer in along with another drawer from a separate robbery. He then proceeded to walk home which was two doors away. How did the police find him? They followed his foot prints in the snow!

debwardart said...

Thanks for your comments - sometimes criminals aren't the brightest bulbs! Just thought this was too funny to pass up - don't you just love small town life!

Kathy Wirth said...

Thanks for passing on the funny story, Deb! I forwarded it to my husband, who loves to read stories about stupid criminals.

debwardart said...

Kathy - hope he enjoys the story!

Vicki Greene said...

Deb this is so funny. Thanks for sharing. I love living in a small town and can see something like this happening.

debwardart said...

Hi Vicki - our local paper usually has something that I will find funny - I guess it's just that everybody knows everybody else and the reporter puts a private spin on things. Glad you enjoyed it!

Chris Beck said...

I'm way behind on reading and commenting, but had to thank you for a good laugh today!! This reminds me of the story behind a car my brother bought at a police auction -- bright red sport car that had been used as a get-away car by some local guy when he robbed a small town bank in Wisconsin -- the red car was bad enough, but he had personalized license plates featuring his own name!!