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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


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

www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html


NOVEMBER 29, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


EXCELSIOR SPRINGS MAN CHARGED

WITH BANK ROBBERY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Excelsior Springs, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with robbing Community Bank of Missouri in Excelsior Springs.


            Joseph J. Laird, 31, of Excelsior Springs, was charged in a federal criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Laird remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.


            According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, Laird entered Community Bank of Missouri, 1400 Hospital Drive, Excelsior Springs, on Friday morning, Nov. 26, 2010.


            The bank teller saw Laird approaching the bank, the affidavit says, and noticed that his hood was pulled up over his head and his face was covered by a black mask. Believing that he was going to rob the bank, the teller began removing the large denominations of currency from her top drawer and locked it in her lower drawer in order to minimize the financial loss to the bank. The teller activated the alarm as Laird entered the bank.


            Laird allegedly handed the teller a note, which said, “This is a robbery put the money in the bag no one gets hurt” (sic). The teller took $1,577 from her drawer and put it into a cloth bag, the affidavit says, and Laird left the bank and ran in the direction of the nearby hospital.


            Another employee saw Laird drive out of the hospital parking lot in a red Dodge Neon and stop at the intersection of 69 Highway. She gave this information to the teller, who had called 911. Excelsior Springs police officers arrived at 10:27 a.m. and pulled over Laird’s vehicle when he turned onto 69 Highway.


            Phillips cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI and the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Police Department.


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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

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html