Elderly Woman Arrested For Bank Robbery In Missouri
In a surprising turn of events, a 78-year-old elderly woman arrested for bank robbery in Missouri. The woman, Bonnie Gooch, who has not been identified, allegedly entered Goppert Federal Bank in St. Louis and demanded hundreds of dollars in cash from the teller while claiming to have a weapon.
She also left a letter that said, "Thank you, I didn't intend to terrify you," before driving away with the money. Ms Gooch is currently being held in jail on a $25,000 (£20,129) bail.
According to court records acquired by the Kansas City Star, she entered the bank last Wednesday wearing a black N95 mask, black sunglasses, and plastic gloves and gave the teller a letter that stated "I need 13,000 little dollars."
Prosecutors claim that surveillance video shows Ms Gooch hammering on the counter at one point, ordering a faster delivery of the cash, before fleeing in her Buick Enclave with its handicap registration visible.
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Officers from the Pleasant Hill Missouri Police Department responded to reports of a "robbery in process" about 15:20 local time (21:20 BST) and discovered Ms Gooch in her vehicle, smelling strongly of alcohol and with cash thrown across the floor, according to prosecutors.
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The woman was arrested a few hours after the robbery and charged with first-degree robbery. She was taken into custody without incident and is currently being held at the St. Louis County Jail.
According to the police, the woman did not actually have a weapon on her person at the time of the robbery. However, because she claimed to have one, the charge of first-degree robbery still applies.
When officers first approached her, they were kind of confused ... It's a little old lady who steps out. We weren't sure initially that we had the right person.
- Pleasant Hill Police Chief Tommy Wright
At this time, it is unclear what motivated the woman to rob the bank. Some speculate that she may have been in dire financial straits and felt that this was her only option.
Others believe that she may have been suffering from a mental health condition that impaired her judgement.
She also had two previous convictions. One for a 1977 robbery in California, and the other for a 2020 bank heist in which she allegedly handed the teller a birthday card with the words "this is a robbery" scrawled on it.
Her probation for the robbery in 2020 expired in November 2021.
Mr Wright stated that Ms Gooch had no "diagnosed" illnesses, but that due to her age, the department was attempting to ascertain whether any underlying health problems might have contributed to the occurrence.
The incident has shocked the community, with many expressing sympathy for the elderly woman and questioning how she could have been driven to such drastic measures.
Some have also expressed concern about the state of mental health care for seniors, and how we as a society can better support those who may be struggling.
The bank has released a statement thanking law enforcement for their swift response and expressing relief that no one was hurt in the incident.
This incident serves as a reminder that desperation can drive people to extreme actions, regardless of their age or background.
It is important that we as a society work to provide support and resources for those who may be struggling, and to address the underlying issues that lead to criminal behavior.