By Roger McKinney

rmckinney@joplinglobe.com

GALENA, Kan. - Police on Thursday night were continuing to look for at least three bank robbers who abducted a teller and his wife from their home before leaving them tied up at the bank and escaping with an undetermined amount of money.

Galena police Chief Larry Delmont said American Bank, 901 E. Seventh St., was robbed about 7 a.m. Thursday. He said that's when a 911 call was made to police alerting them of the robbery. He said he was unsure who made the call.

Delmont said the robbers abducted bank teller Don Noe and his wife about 5:45 a.m. from their rural home south of town, tied them up, and took them to the bank.

Delmont declined to say specifically, when asked, if the robbers used Noe to get into the bank, but he said they tied him and his wife up again after getting into the bank, indicating that they had used Noe to let them in. He said the robbers left Noe and his wife there when they escaped with the money. The couple were not physically injured, he said.

The bank opens at 9 a.m. on weekdays.

Delmont declined to say what weapons the robbers used, if any. The police chief also would not say if the robbers' knowledge of where the teller lived indicated that they are familiar with the town.

Noe is an accountant and a member of the Galena Board of Education. He said Thursday afternoon that he had a tough day that started too early, but he declined to describe his abduction while the investigation was continuing.

Noe's house late Thursday morning was surrounded with police tape, and police were on hand, restricting access to it.

About noon, police located a small, black car with Johnson County tags, parked on the west side of Main Street between Third and Fourth streets. Delmont said that may be the car the robbers drove.

Police also were interested in a van that was found parked at the Galena post office. The post office was closed Thursday morning and was roped off with police tape. Delmont would not say how the van was connected to the investigation.

"We recovered some evidence there," he said of the van, but he declined to say what was recovered.

Galena police, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Tri-State Major Case Squad all are working on the investigation. They set up a command post at Galena City Hall.

Delmont said investigators would be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who witnessed anything suspicious between 6 and 7 a.m. Thursday in the area of the bank.

Bank officials said they plan to reopen the bank today.

Precaution

Galena Superintendent Brian Smith said all schools were locked down for a few hours after the bank robbery Thursday morning as a precautionary measure. The bank is near several school buildings.

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