Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

MAY 1, 2009




            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Kan., man was convicted by a federal jury today of three armed bank robberies in Gladstone, Mo., Independence, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo.

            Wyatt J. Ellison, 36, of Kansas City, was found guilty of three counts of armed bank robbery and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

            Ellison is one of three defendants charged in a Aug. 19, 2008, superseding indictment. Co-defendants Luis Rodriguez, 44, and Charles Williams, 45, both of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting armed bank robbery. Rodriguez and Williams each admitted that they drove getaway cars for Ellison during the bank robberies.

            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about three and a half hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Monday, April 27, 2009.

            Ellison stole $40,255 from Commerce Bank, 6334 NE Antioch, Gladstone, on Nov. 24, 2007. Just before Ellison entered the bank, Williams – who was driving the getaway car – called Rodriguez. Rodriguez then called 911 to falsely report a robbery at another bank, in order to divert the police response away from Commerce Bank. Ellison, carrying a handgun, jumped over the teller counter and ordered several tellers to place money inside a canvas bag. After obtaining the money, he jumped back over the teller counter and left the bank.

            Ellison stole $46,854 from First National Bank of Missouri, 10801 E. 23rd St., Independence, on Jan. 12, 2008. Ellison, wearing a blue ski mask, jumped over the teller counter and pointed a handgun at the tellers. He ordered them to give him all the money from the drawers, which they placed in the pillowcase he was carrying. Rodriguez drove Ellison to the bank in a stolen car and waited in the parking lot until after the robbery, then drove Ellison away from the bank.

            Ellison stole $4,573 from US Bank, 11204 Holmes Rd., Kansas City, on April 1, 2008. Ellison jumped onto the counter and pointed his gun at one of the tellers. He ordered her to empty her drawer and give him the money, then move to the other drawers and give him that money as well. About half an hour after the robbery, police officers received information that the individuals responsible for the bank robbery were located at the Longfellow Apartments at 26th and Harrison. Ellison, Rodriguez and Williams were contacted when they left a vacant apartment unit and attempted to leave the building. Williams was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex, where Ellison had formerly worked.

            Under federal statutes, Ellison is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 57 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Y. Tabor and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Gladstone, Mo., Police Department.


This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at