Man charged with being cross-dressing robber

BEREA — A Brodhead man was charged Friday in the armed robberies of a Berea bank, a Danville check-cashing business and a Richmond motel. Police say he was dressed in women's clothing during all three.

Troy N. Lear, 40, was arrested at a Kentucky Fried Chicken on Chestnut Street in Berea, where he was seen in the Nissan involved in Thursday's robbery at Cumberland Valley National Bank & Trust, according to Berea police.

Police Chief David Gregory said Lear confessed to all three robberies.

The cross-dressing "was one of the connecting points we had," Richmond Police Sgt. Rodney Richardson said at a news conference.

Lear was not dressed as a woman when he pulled into KFC, Berea police Capt. Ken Clark said.

A witness had taken down the license plate number of the car that drove away from Thursday's bank robbery. Late Friday morning, Officer Bobby Edwards of the Berea police saw a car with that tag and stopped it, Gregory said.

"This officer did an excellent job in locating the suspect and waiting for backup to arrive," Gregory said.

The first two robberies happened late last year.

Shortly after 2 a.m. Nov. 6, a man dressed as a woman robbed the Comfort Suites near Exit 87 on Interstate 75, Richmond police said.

The man demanded money and used an electric "stun gun" on the night clerk's hand, police said at the time. The man had reddish brown hair and wore a blue ski cap, a pink shirt and a tan jacket.

The Danville incident happened about 12:30 p.m. Dec. 29 at Check Exchange on Hustonville Road, said Danville Assistant Police Chief Tom Bustle. A man wearing a dark auburn wig, women's clothes and makeup entered the business and brandished a handgun.

"According to the witness, (he) had very nice facial makeup," Sgt. Todd Davis of Danville police told the Advocate-Messenger newspaper.

Then, on Thursday, a man entered Cumberland Valley National Bank & Trust on Big Hill Road in Berea just before 1:30 p.m. and asked for money.

The man wore makeup, a dark brown wig, a hooded green coat with fur trim, a gray scarf, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Some money from the bank robbery was recovered.

Gregory said police are investigating whether Lear might be involved in robberies in other states. The FBI has been contacted, he said.

Lear was taken to the Madison County jail and may make his first court appearance via video from the jail as early as next week.