Thursday, December 4, 2003

Public safety briefs

Pilot accused of stealing plane

OXFORD - Police have arrested a man they said was living inside a stolen Cessna.

Augustine "Chip" Mertik of Palm Coast, Fla., is accused of stealing the fixed-wing plane from the Butler County Regional Airport.

Police believe the 53-year-old licensed pilot stole the 1978 Cessna sometime between Nov. 7 and 9. After leaving the Butler County airport, Mertik flew the plane to the Miami University Airport just outside Oxford.

Mertik apparently lived inside the plane and a nearby pilot's lounge until his Nov. 26 arrest, according to Miami University Police Lt. Andrew Powers.

According to FAA records, ownership of the plane is being transferred to Robert Conrad of Okeana. Conrad said he bought the Cessna to help Mertik, a former business associate, avoid losing it to creditors.

Police seek robber of West Chester bank

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Police are searching for a man who robbed the Fifth Third Bank branch at 8975 Lakota Drive West pm Wednesday morning.

The man entered the bank about 10:30 a.m. and displayed a note demanding money, West Chester Police Sgt. Steve Oakes said. The man then fled and was last seen walking west on West Chester Road.

The man has dark skin, is about 5-foot-6 to 6 feet tall and weighs 190-200 pounds. He was wearing a dark toboggan hat, caramel-colored sweater, wire-rimmed glasses and jeans, Oakes said.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Grandson indicted in Pillow's killing

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Michael Meridy Jr. Wednesday on a charge of murder.

Meridy, 19, of Avondale is accused of beating and stabbing to death his grandfather, Edgar Pillow, 78, a longtime community activist and writer, at his College Hill home Nov. 16.

Meridy is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center on $500,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.

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