One year passes since armed robbery

Friday marked the one year anniversary of an armed robbery at Lennox Employees Credit Union and the subsequent shooting of a Marshalltown police officer.

Three police vehicles were parked at the bank on Friday morning as a recognition of the anniversary, said Capt. Mike Hanken, of the Marshalltown Police Department.

“The officers were just stopping by to check on the staff there to kind of see how they have been doing and let them know we still think about what they went through,”Hanken said.

The two men charged in the robbery pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Abel Alejandro Ramirez, 23, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on July 12, after he pleaded guilty in April to armed robbery and use and carry of a firearm in relation of crime violence.

Ben Crisantos, 23, who is charged with the attempted murder of Marshalltown Police Officer Vern Jefferson, is expected to be sentenced on Thursday. Crisantos is also charged with armed robbery.

The incident unfolded the morning of Nov. 1, 2012 when police were called to the robbery at 1004 E. Main St. When the pair fled from the bank, Jefferson pursued them on a foot chase. That was when Crisantos turned and shot Jefferson in the leg with a handgun and Jefferson returned fire, striking Crisantos. Both men were then transported to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center where they were treated.

Jefferson was later named the Iowa Police Chiefs Association Officer of the Year for his actions during the robbery. Police Chief Mike Tupper presented him also presented him a medal of valor in June.

“Vern is doing well and continues to do a great job for the community,” Tupper said. “I would also praise the response from Lennox. They did a wonderful job of handling a very difficult circumstance and even the aftermath of the circumstance over the last year.”

Tupper said it brought the police department closer together.

“I think the department all came together as a team and a family and supported Vern and the several other officers involved with that response,” Tupper said. “I think it brought us closer together.”

Paul Crawford, assistant Marshall County attorney, said once Crisantos is sentenced the state will schedule a pre-trial conference on the state charges of robbery and attempted murder.