Police: Robbery suspect hid in neighborhoods for hours

Jacob Joseph Hansel (Hamilton Co. jail photo)
Published: .
Updated: .

It was what Mary saw that helped police crack a robbery case.

"I was letting the dogs out here on the side," says Mary, from her yard not far from 106th St. and College Ave. From there, Mary saw the gunman that had eluded police for 12 hours.

"He was walking thru the backyards of residents," said Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen.

He's talking about Jacob Joseph Hansel of Indianapolis, who was alleged to have been running from police.

It all started after midnight Friday with an armed robbery at a convenience store at 106th and College. Police say the robber even apologized to his victim.

Another holdup was reported on 96th and College about two hours later. Police say Hansel went into hiding in nearby neighborhoods after the robberies.

Hansel might have spent time behind storage barns or hunkered down in bushes in the near-freezing temperatures.

"I'm glad I have dogs, very glad," Mary's next door neighbor said. "They did bark at our fence, but I didn't put two and two together." That is, until later when Mary was putting her dogs outside.

"And a gentleman walked over here. He didn't look right," says Mary. "He was obviously focused on the street for some reason."

Apparently watching for police, who were patrolling the area in large numbers.

"He was pinned down and trying to find the best way out he could," said Bowen.

"He couldn't figure out how to open the fence, Mary told us. "Looked at me like he was in a daze or whatever. And he just turned and left and apparently dropped his gun over here," pointing to a spot below a bush.

Mary called 911 and police caught Hansel.

Police also found a pickup truck. The truck's owner told investigators he thinks Hansel may have taken it around the time of the holdups. Inside the truck: "beer. It got pretty raunchy very quick," the owner told us, who briefly employed Hansel to do house painting.

Back on Mary's street, she advises others to stay alert. "Know what's going on in your neighborhood."

Police say Hansel has previous drug charges and a charge of failing to register for the sex offender registry. Police will now add two armed robbery counts.