Victim In Abduction/Robbery Waits For Arrest In Her Case

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Jeep Country FCU Branch Manager Kathy Scholl is really happy that four suspects in a string of about 12 abduction-style robberies in Columbus, and a suspect in several abduction-style robberies in Milwaukee, Wis., have been arrested.

Now she just wishes there would be an arrest in her case, too.

In the late-night/early-morning hours of Dec. 13, 2001, two masked, armed intruders burst in on Scholl and her family, restraining her husband and daughter with duct tape and then taking Scholl to the credit union branch, telling her she could either help them take money from JCFCU's vault or her family would die (CUJ, Dec. 24, 2001).

It was an easy choice: she gave her assailant access to the vault, and neither she nor any of her family were physically harmed. But the psychological harm still haunts her three years later.

Scholl's abduction and robbery was followed almost a year to the day by an eerily similar crime at the Milwaukee branch of Racine, Wis.-based Educators CU, when VP Julie Loyo's home was stormed in the middle of the night by armed intruders who restrained her husband and daughter and then forced Loyo to give her assailants access to the branch vault. Scholl was shaken when The Credit Union Journal called her for a follow-up interview a year after her ordeal to talk about this second crime.

But since then, these abduction-style robberies became almost common place, with as many as 12 financial institutions in the Columbus area alone occurring from 2001 to 2004 before there were any arrests.

But there still haven't been any arrests in Scholl's case, and it is unclear whether there is any tie between what happened to Scholl and the rash of cases just two hours away in Columbus. Scholl said she has not been contacted by law enforcement about the arrests in the Columbus cases and has not been called to testify as of yet.

Scholl, who still works as branch manager for Holland, Ohio-based Jeep Country FCU's Toledo branch, offered advice for the most recent victims of these hostage-based scenarios.

"I had plenty of counseling, and I still have bad days, so take whatever support you can get," she related. "It was hard to go back to work. That first week, I couldn't go all day, I couldn't open or close, but I would go for a few hours every day, when it was still light out. But after about a week of that, I knew I had to get back to it. I've been in credit unions for more than 20 years, I can't start over."

As a result of Scholl's experience, JCFCU beefed up its security protocols. "Now we have two people to open, and we all leave together at night," she explained. "Before, we had a Toledo police officer here, but only sporadically. Now he's here every day. We have some shady people walk in, and when they see the police, they say, 'Oh, wrong place,' and they leave. You know they didn't just 'forget' that this isn't their bank. You have to wonder what they are up to. We don't know it for a fact, but I'm sure having the police here has kept us from being a target."

Scholl also beefed up her own security measures, putting in a back-up, wireless, cellular alarm system so if the landlines are cut, the alarm still works. "I knew when I took this job that there was a risk involved, and that was a risk I chose to live with, but I chose to live with it at work, I never imagined it would come home to find me, to hurt my family," Scholl observed.

As for the suspects in other cases, Scholl hopes that what is in store for them may soon be in store for her assailants. "It's wonderful that they made an arrest. I feel great about that," she said, noting she'd feel even better if the suspects who have been arrested are also tied to her case.

"I hope they stay in jail for a very long time."

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