CLEVELAND — Police say an Akron man suspected of several robberies in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls told them that he needed money to pay off student loans and that he wanted to go back to school. At the time, he was charged with robbing two banks and suspected of other robberies.

Three of the incidents were on the same day, Feb. 1, when the man allegedly couldn’t open a cash register at one business and was chased away at gunpoint at a second before finally grabbing some cash at an Akron pizza restaurant.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio announced Tuesday that 22-year-old Sherman Street resident Darrion L. Powers has been indicted on six counts of interference with commerce by robbery and two counts of bank robbery. Police say that all of the robberies were committed at knifepoint by a suspect covered up with a hooded sweatshirt and in at least some cases, wearing a ski mask. No injuries were reported in the robberies.

Powers is being held without bail in an unspecified location. Don Malarcik, Powers’ attorney, said Powers is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service at Correctional Corp. of America in Youngstown, a private facility that house federal prisoners awaiting trial who have not met bond.

"Darrion has no prior history of violence," said Malarcik. "He graduated at the top of his class at high school. He served honorably in the United States Army Reserves since 2017."

Malarcik said Powers graduated from Garfield High School in southwest Akron and attended Ashland University. According to Ashland’s website, Powers played football for the school and earned four varsity letters while in high school. As a high school football player, a running back in the class of 2015, Powers has a profile on ESPN’s website.

"I look forward to reviewing the evidence and trying to find answers to how Darrion now finds himself charged with these very serious charges," said Malarcik.

According to the indictment, Powers is accused of robbing three Cuyahoga Falls pizza restaurants — Marco’s Pizza on Portage Trail on Dec. 24; Rocco’s Pizza on Portage Trail on Jan. 29 and Mark and Philly’s Pizzeria on Bailey Road on Feb. 1.

Police say he got away with less than $1,000 in the first two robberies.

According to reports, he was forced to flee empty handed twice on Feb. 1, first when he was unable to open the cash register at Mark & Phillies around 3 p.m. and again around 7 p.m., when the owner of Two Monks Brewing Co. on Massillon Road in Akron reported he chased the suspect out with a handgun. Police say Powers finally jumped over the counter and grabbed an undetermined amount of cash from the register and tip jar at Italo’s Pizza on Brown Street around 9 p.m. that night.

The two banks and three Akron businesses that Powers is accused of robbing are all on Akron’s south side, where Powers lives.

The first robbery allegedly took place Dec. 4, when Powers allegedly made off with $150 from Ms. Julye’s Kitchen on South Main Street. An unreported amount of cash was taken from the Huntington Bank on South Arlington Street on Jan. 4.

Police caught him shortly after he allegedly robbed the PNC Bank on Massillon Road on Feb. 12, with more than $9,000 in cash, some still in PNC bank wrappers, taken.

Police said witnesses told them that after taking cash from multiple cash drawers and putting it into a backpack he was wearing against his chest, the suspect left the bank and fled the area in a black Chevrolet Malibu.

Police arrested him later that day when they saw him pull into a parking lot near his home.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.