A 78-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with theft after police caught her fleeing from a Missouri bank with cash scattered on her car’s floorboard last week Wednesday.
Gooch allegedly walked up to the counter of the Goppert Financial Bank in Pleasant Hill, wearing plastic gloves, black sunglasses and a face mask, and passed the bank teller a note that read,
“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.
Surveillance video also captured her banging on the counter, asking the teller to hurry, Cass County prosecutors said. Gooch allegedly told the teller not to count the money and “just give it to her.”
After she was given the money, the bank robber was seen fleeing the scene in a Buick Enclave that still had its handicap registration number on display, the Kansas City Star reported.
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.”
Gooch’s son told police that she was angry, had a BB gun and black wig, and was saying she was going to rob a bank. About 30 minutes later, officers responded to a robbery at a Bank of the West branch.
There, an account officer told police that a short, older woman wearing a wig entered the bank and handed her a blank birthday card with a note that read, “this is a robbery.” Not long after the holdup, police located Gooch’s car and she was arrested without incident, the Kansas City Star reported.
Wright said that the department is looking to see if any underlying health factors may have contributed to Gooch’s third bank heist attempt.
“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.”