Would be robber: "Don't be stupid, or I'll shoot"

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX)- The call could have ended very badly.

"At approximately 3:45 PM, Ocean Springs PD received a call there was an attempted bank robbery," said Lieutenant Jon Flowers, Ocean Springs Police Department spokesman.  "Mississippi Highway Patrol was on scene."

But police say the attempted robbery at the Ocean Springs Bank Plus branch on Highway 90 was extremely unusual. It's not every day a state trooper walks in on a bank robbery in progress.

Friday afternoon, a highway patrol officer was waiting in line to take care of some personal business at the bank branch, when he noticed a teller trying to make eye contact.  That's when authorities said he turned the tables on a would be robber.

"He was noticing the clerk trying to get his attention, so the trooper backs up to a hallway," said Corporal Johnny Poulos, spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.  "He knew something was going on, he made sure there were no other people in the bank, walked up behind the subject and apprehended him."

The suspect, 24-year-old Mobile resident Jason Jamel Barial is in custody and charged with armed robbery. The only damage to the bank was an afternoon of lost business.

"We're very fortunate to have the outcome of this," said Poulos.  "No one is injured and everyone is safe.  And it was very fortunate for the bank that the trooper walked in at that time."

"I would say the criminal was quite unlucky on this one but to have a trooper in the bank as the robbery was taking place, but fortunately, for the instincts of the officer, things worked out," said Flowers.

The patrolman couldn't be identified, but he told WLOX off-camera that when he arrested Barial, he was handing the teller a note.

He said the note said, "Give me all the money that's in the drawer.  Don't be stupid, or I'll shoot."

Even early in the investigation, it appears the note was Barial's only weapon.

"The weapon has not been found at this point in time," said Flowers.

The investigation is ongoing but local law enforcement congratulate the trooper on a job well done.

"It's very rare for that to happen, but today was a good day for law enforcement," said Poulos.

Ocean Springs Police Chief Lionel Cothern said in a statement, "It is because of the trooper's quick, professional assessment of the situation and his decisive action that the suspect was quickly apprehended without injury to anyone."

Authorities said Friday night Barial was in the Ocean Springs City Jail awaiting an inital court appearance.

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