Kent man pleads guilty to First Merit bank robbery

By Dave O'Brien | Staff Writer Published:

A Kent man faces up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing First Merit Bank on S.R. 59 east of Kent in April.

Andrew G. Knechtle, 25, formerly of 133 Brady St., pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with a firearms specification, in Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow's courtroom.

[READ RELATED STORY: Kent man arrested for Franklin Township Bank Robbery]

Knechtle, who is represented by the Portage County Public Defender's Office, faces a potential sentence of four to 12 years in prison, which includes a one-year mandatory penalty for using a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to his plea agreement.

Knechtle entered the plea July 9. He remains in the Portage County jail in lieu of 10 percent of $300,000 bond, pending sentencing.

He was indicted by a Portage County grand jury on a charge of aggravated robbery with a firearms specification in April.

The Portage County Sheriff's Office alleged that Knechtle, wearing dark clothing and a disguise, entered the First Merit bank at 1729 E. Main St. in Franklin Township at 3:45 p.m. April 11.

He indicated that he was armed and forced a teller to hand over an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing on foot.

A follow-up investigation identified Knechtle as a possible suspect and he was arrested on April 16.

It was his ninth arrest in Portage County, though the first on felony charges, since April 2010, according to Portage County court records.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Twitter: @RCCrimeWatch

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  • @DoWhatsRight...This is just one example of why the court is called:

    "The Portage County Discount House of Justice",  "Lowest Sentences, Always"  "No Plea Deal Refused"

  • With a record like his, what was he doing out of jail?