Initial reports of 42-year-old John Oliver Study's arrest near Live Oak, Fla., a week ago Wednesday failed to take into account the investigation that got its start a month earlier at a rural location outside Reelsville, where Study and his unsuspecting wife Jill were living in a travel trailer and making plans to build their dream home.
Putnam County sheriff's deputies, led by Investigator Mike Biggs, were directed to the Study property on CR 650 West on Oct. 22 after a local contractor, who had been hired by Study to perform some type of construction work, became suspicious of Study's activities and notified the authorities.
According to the Biggs' police report filed Thursday, the contractor reported seeing a white Dodge Stratus that was parked on the Study property and appeared to be in disrepair. The vehicle had a broken windshield and what seemed to the man to be a bullet hole in the frame of the car.
The man also took note of two large-scale backhoes that Study used on his property, both of which appeared to be fairly new. Study and his wife were living in a travel trailer, parked on the lot, while they worked on building a permanent home nearby, the report stated.
When Study failed to make good on his payments for services rendered by the contractor, the contractor became suspicious of the fact that Study appeared to have money, yet failed to pay his bills. That's when he contacted the sheriff's department and the investigation began.
When the investigation began, detectives did not know they were dealing with a possible serial bank robber.
According to the police report, detectives traced the VIN numbers on the two backhoes and travel trailer and determined they were stolen. When they went to the Study property to seize the stolen items, Study and his wife were not at home. Phone calls placed to Study's cell phone failed to reveal his location, the report says, however, Study's wife Jill appeared at the Putnam County Jail the next day to inquire about the travel trailer, which was then in police custody.
Biggs reports that upon interviewing Study's wife, it was their opinion that she didn't know her husband's alleged criminal history. Still, detectives weren't able to track down Study himself, but according to his wife, the couple was living with Jill's family in Zionsville.
The investigation into Study's past deepened when the sheriff from Boone County, where Study was also alleged to have robbed a bank in July of 2006, came to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department to compare evidence from a police pursuit that followed the bank robbery.
Comparing the photos of the car taken during the pursuit with those taken of the white Dodge Stratus found on the Study property, police surmised the two cars were one in the same. The car was registered to Study.
Further links were formed with the red Jeep owned by Study's wife Jill, that was seen fleeing the scene of the Greencastle bank robbery in September 2006, as well as a 2008 silver Ford pick-up truck that Study was seen driving to his property near Reelsville. The VIN number of that truck matched with one that was stolen from a Ford dealership in Ladoga in September of this year.
A subsequent search of the travel trailer where the Studys were living revealed maps of the areas where the nine bank robberies occurred, along with a fake driver's license.
But all their police work failed to find Study himself who, according to the police report, fled to Illinois and Iowa and back to Indiana before winding up in Georgia where the final police chase began. It was there that Study is alleged to have stolen a large motorhome and $300 worth of gasoline and led police on a chase into Florida. The motorhome crashed and burned and Study was taken into custody last week.
He remained in custody in Florida this week awaiting initial charges stemming from the police chase there.
Boone County and Putnam County officials could possibly seek extradition orders to have Study brought back to Indiana to face the many bank robbery charges. There is no word from officials on when that might happen.