Former police officer charged in five Hamilton County robberies, deputies say

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A former police officer was arrested Thursday and charged with a string of armed robberies throughout Greater Cincinnati after a former coworker recognized his truck.

Jacob Goodwin, 30, is accused of robbing five businesses -- three convenience stores, a CVS Pharmacy and Pearl's Bar -- between March 22 and April 15. Goodwin drove the same vehicle to each location and either brandished or implied possession of a firearm as he committed the crimes, according to a news release from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Goodwin was employed as a part-time officer in Newtown from February 2010 until March 2011, during which he "received several disciplinary actions." Police Chief Tom Synan said that Goodwin disobeyed some orders and had not followed procedures. He was allowed to resign when informed of his pending termination.

A Newtown officer recognized Goodwin's vehicle while monitoring law enforcement intelligence websites, according to Synan.

"He was 100 percent convinced it was (Goodwin's)," Synan said. "He took the initiative to notify investigators that's who he believed it was, and the investigators took the information and did a great job ... following up and investigating on it."

Newtown officers even responded to one of the robberies.

"It's disheartening to see that someone would do that," Synan said. "I don't know why he's at where he is now, but whatever the reason is, it was dangerous and violent, and I'm glad that Cincinnati and the sheriff's department ended up getting him off the street."

A judge set bond at $400,000 for Goodwin in court Friday morning. Detectives requested a high bond because of his police experience and understanding of investigative techniques. Police say they found weapons, police equipment and ballistic vests in Goodwin's home that they believe he used in the robberies.

Police Chief Eric Bartlett of the Elmwood Place Police Department and Aberdeen, Ohio Police Chief Fred Hampton both confirmed that Goodwin had also worked for their departments in the past.

He resigned from his position in Aberdeen on Oct. 19, 2012; Bartlett did not immediately provide dates of Goodwin’s employment with Elmwood Place, but said he left the department more than a year ago. 

Documents provided by Barlett revealed that Goodwin had been fired from the Elmwood Place Police Department after refusing to take a drug test, failing to report for duty and not being able to account for drugs he had handled. Bartlett said that Goodwin had not been disciplined for any connection to illegal drugs, but did not clarify further.

WCPO could not confirm his place of employment at the time of the robberies.

Synan said he was proud of the officer who tipped off the investigators.

"It was Newtown officers that turned him in, showing that our bond to those we serve goes beyond those who discredit our profession," Synan said in a news release. "Our responsibility is to uphold a standard of service and protect the public from harm, which we did when he was released from the Newtown Police Department and now six years later."

The incidents are still under investigation. Deputies asked anyone with information to call 513-851-6000.

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