Ramon Alvarez (36), of Hardin County, KY, was charged with 4 different bank robberies, one of which was the 2018 armed robbery of the Lewisport branch of Hancock Bank & Trust. Alvarez was one of the 3 suspects in the robbery, and the federal grand jury returned his indictment on April 12th, 2023.
The late Dave Taylor wrote in the Clarion about the 3 unknown suspects, with faces completely covered and gloves on, who robbed the Lewisport bank, on Thursday afternoon, June 7th, 2018. The suspects fled the scene in a teal sedan, which was captured on camera footage, heading west on Hwy 60. Lead investigator, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Emmick stated, at the time, that it had only taken the robbers 51 seconds from the time they pulled up, to the time they fled.
Taylor had driven in the direction that the suspects were believed to have traveled in, right after he got word, in an effort to assist local police in finding them, or any evidence. He saw a black shirt in the middle of KY 657, just south of Lewisport and further down, a black cap. Deputy Emmick went and retrieved the items. The suspects had possibly turned south to take a back route. More evidence was found by Deputy B.J. Burton on Freesilver Road in Daviess County, but the trail went dry from there. Emmick saved all items found, for DNA testing to possibly help identify the suspects.
In the days after the robbery, the bank’s executive vice president, Rodney Perkins, said that upgrading the surveillance cameras was first on their list. The suspects were caught on camera, but the footage wasn’t clear and their faces were completely covered. Perkins stated that he would be beefing-up deterrent security immediately, including keeping the quick grab items down to a minimum.
The robbers were able to get away with $9,407, by holding tellers at gunpoint, a traumatizing situation for all who witnessed it, and no laughing matter, which Deputy Emmick later emphasized publicly, and requested that bank patrons, after the event, stop joking around about the robbery with bank employees. Some of them had even gone as far as coming into the bank and jokingly putting their shirts up over their faces.
In February of 2020, DNA evidence from items found led to the FBI indictment of two of the robbers, Sean N. Curtis, with an alias of Sean Michael Curtis, and Jessica M. Howard. “When we got the DNA back,” Emmick said, “they were already listed in the system, and I found out that they were meeting with their parole officer in Elizabethtown. I drove to E-town to get a DNA sample, and they skipped out on their parole visit that day. We got warrants for them. They were arrested, and I got the DNA sample from them in the jail, sent it off, and it was positively matched, which gave those 2 suspects to the FBI, who then developed the third suspect (Alvarez).”
Sheriff Dale Bozarth, Commissioner Phillip Burnett, Jr. with Kentucky State Police, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of KY and Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office made the announcement of Alvarez’s indictment.
His indictment charges are for 3 other bank robberies, which Curtis and Howard were also indicted for: the WesBanco Bank in Meade County, KY, on May 22nd, 2018, stealing $8,292; the Casey County Bank in Casey County, KY, on June 25th, 2018, stealing $5,400; and the Wilson and Muir Bank in Grayson County, KY, on July 2nd, 2018, stealing $5,000.
On April 17th, 2023, Alvarez entered federal custody and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of KY thereafter. He faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison, if convicted. Assistant U.S. Attorney Madison Sewell, of the U.S. Attorney’s Bowling Green Branch Office is prosecuting the case. FBI Bowling Green Field Office, KSP and Hancock County Sheriff’s Office have an ongoing investigation of the case, because there are still charges pending.
By Jennifer Wimmer