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Couple charged with Tuesday's bank robbery in Harrison

| Thursday, May 23, 2013, 4:24 p.m.
Ronald D. McHenry of Tarentum, accused of bank robbery
The man who robbed the First Niagara Bank along Freeport Road in Harrison on Tuesday was photographed by a bank camera. He shrouded his head with a burlap-like cloth and other headgear. May 21, 2013.

A Tarentum man and woman are charged with robbing the First Niagara Bank in Harrison.

Ronald D. McHenry, 41, of 117 E. 10th Ave. is accused of walking into the bank along Freeport Road in Natrona Heights at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon and using a note passed to a teller to steal $3,700.

Heather Ann Ban, 37, no specific address available, is accused of being McHenry's get-away driver.

Both were awaiting arraignment late Thursday in Allegheny County Night Court on robbery and conspiracy charges. McHenry faces additional charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

McHenry is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond. Ban is being held in lieu of $10,000 bond. Both of those bonds are for other charges the pair faces.

Police said McHenry and Ban were spotted just before 11 a.m. Wednesday in Harmar inside a white pickup with a gold pinstripe that matched the description of the get-away vehicle in the bank robbery.

Harmar police Chief Jason Domaratz said he spotted the truck — with a suspended license plate — being driven at a high rate of speed along Freeport Road.

McHenry, whose driver's license also is suspended, was pulled over and charged with speeding and being a habitual offender for allegedly driving without a license.

The pickup was towed away, and police said they took McHenry and Ban to the police station for questioning by Harmar and Harrison detectives.

According to an affidavit, McHenry had about $100 worth of $1 and $5 bills like those taken in the robbery.

McHenry and Ban denied involvement in the bank robbery and were released because the bank robbery arrest warrants hadn't been filed yet.

Walking Freeport Road

Then, at about 2:30 p.m., Harmar police got a 911 call about a man and a woman who had started a fire along the Allegheny River.

Domaratz said he found McHenry staggering and Ban walking along Freeport Road.

McHenry told police he was having chest pain and was checked by medics but he refused a trip to the hospital, the chief said.

Domaratz said he offered to drive McHenry and Ban to the Harmar motel where they were staying, but he told them they first had to be searched for officer safety.

He said they agreed to the pat-down, which resulted in police finding heroin and syringes on the pair.

Domaratz said McHenry began to resist during the search and scuffled with police. Domaratz said he eventually used a Taser on McHenry and handcuffed him. Police say they found a large amount of money in McHenry's pants, in addition to heroin.

Harrison police again were called to question McHenry and, according to an affidavit filed by Harrison police, he confessed to robbing the bank the previous day.

McHenry allegedly named Ban as his get-away driver. He said they bought heroin after the robbery and went to a Harmar motel.

In addition to the speeding and habitual offender charges in Harmar, McHenry was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, receiving stolen property, drug possession and two lesser charges.

Ban is facing three drug charges filed by Harmar police. She also was charged on Thursday morning with harassing a jail guard and disorderly conduct by a prisoner.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or

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