78-year-old woman arrested after trying to rob a bank on third attempt

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Police caught a 78-year-old lady running from a Missouri bank with cash strewn across the floorboard of her car last Wednesday, and she was detained and charged with stealing.

In a face mask, plastic gloves, and dark sunglasses, Gooch allegedly approached the Pleasant Hill branch of the Goppert Financial Bank and handed the teller a note that stated,

 “I need 13,000 small bills.

“Thank you sorry I didn’t mean to scare you,” the robbery note added, according to court documents filed in Cass County.

She was also seen on surveillance footage pounding on the counter and yelling at the teller to move quickly, according to Cass County authorities. Gooch allegedly instructed the teller to “just give it to her” instead of counting the money.

The bank robber was seen fleeing the scene after receiving the money in a Buick Enclave that still had its handicap registration number visible, according to the Kansas City Star.

When local police officers eventually caught up with Gooch, about three kilometres down the road, they reported she smelled strongly of alcohol and had cash strewn around the floor of her car.

“It’s just sad,” Pleasant Hill police Chief Tommy Wright said, adding that the suspect had no diagnosed ailments.

Bonnie Gooch has two prior convictions for bank robbery. According to police, she is being held on a US$25,000 bond after she was charged with one count of stealing or attempting to steal from a financial institution.

Gooch was first convicted of bank robbery in 1977, when she tried robbing a California bank. She didn’t try to rob another financial institution for many decades until 2020, when she attempted to rob a bank in a suburb of Kansas City. Her probation in the second heist ended in November 2021.

Police were tipped off to Gooch’s 2020 heist by her son, who called them to say his mother was “off her rocker.”

According to Gooch’s son, she was belligerent, in possession of a BB pistol and a black wig, and threatening to rob a bank. Officers were called about a robbery at a Bank of the West branch around 30 minutes later.

A short, older woman wearing a wig entered the bank and handed the account officer a blank birthday card with a note that stated, “this is a robbery,” the account officer informed police. The Kansas City Star claimed that shortly after the robbery, authorities found Gooch’s car and that she was promptly taken into custody.

“When officers first approached her, they were kind of confused…. It’s a little old lady who steps out,” he said. “We weren’t sure initially that we had the right person.”

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