Alva Review-Courier -

First State Bank in Kiowa vandalized by woman who said she `needed help'


September 21, 2022

A rather strange turn of events happened about 2 a.m. last Saturday morning Sept. 17 in Kiowa, Kansas.

An upset woman showed up at the door of the Kiowa Manor that has about 25 elderly residents plus staff. She told staff that she needed help. With doors that require a code to be typed in, staff denied her access. They said in her frustration the woman kicked over flower pots. They instantly called Kiowa Chief of Police Travis Peterson. He said that call came to him at 2:09 a.m. and he also contacted the Barber County Sheriff's Office.

Peterson found the woman walking east along Main Street in the downtown area. She was carrying a cinder block and told the chief of police she assumed he would arrest her as she had used the block as her weapon to break windows at the First State Bank of Kiowa, which is a branch of Alva State Bank. She said she needed help and hoped that by breaking the windows the bank alarm would go off so she could get the help she wanted.

Alva State Chief Operating Officer (COO) Todd Holder told the Newsgram “She broke about every outside window we had.” Holder estimated damage for at least $25,000. He complimented Chief Peterson “for handling the situation well.” First State Bank Vice-President Justin Binder was notified in those early hours and he went in and secured the interior doors of the bank. The windows are secured with plywood until replacements can be installed.

Peterson said the woman claims she had been at the Plum Thickett restaurant/bar on the east end of Main Street. She also claims she was with someone who started to drive east of town and then she left the vehicle. She made her way back to town. That's when she stopped at the manor and then vandalized the bank.

Without being asked, the woman gave Chief Peterson her birth date and other pertinent information.

“I was surprised she was so forthcoming with me.”

Barber County Deputy Drake Chance arrived. Then Peterson arrested the woman. Peterson withheld her name to the Newsgram as he said the case is under investigation. He said she is charged with criminal damage to property. which is a felony.

She was taken to the Harper County Sheriff's Office and then on to Kiowa County. Why there?

When asked by the Newsgram the status of the Barber County Jail, Sheriff Jason LeClair said, “The jail was built in 1936 and installed here in 1956. It has had minimal updates since then. It no longer meets ADA and housing requirements to safely house inmates. We brought in experts to walk the jail and under their advisement shut down the jail until either a complete remodel is done or a new jail is built. It is an ongoing conversation with the county commissioners. Our goal is to find the most cost effective solution for our county. My first concern is safety.”


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