arkansas man charged with armed bank robbery
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Fort Smith, Ark., man was charged in federal court today with the armed robbery of Great Southern Bank in Joplin, Mo.
Robert Bruce Knepper, 45, of Fort Smith, was charged with bank robbery in a federal criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. Knepper allegedly stole $404,350 at gunpoint from Great Southern Bank on Sept. 16, 2010.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Knepper entered Great Southern Bank, 1232 S. Range Line Rd., Joplin, at 5 p.m. on Sept. 16, 2010. Knepper allegedly brandished a handgun, climbed over the teller counter and ordered the bank employees to the floor. He then ordered the tellers to open the bank vault, the affidavit says, and placed money from the vault in a soft shell cooler. He allegedly removed money from some of the teller drawers as well.
On Feb. 13, 2011, a bag containing a handgun was found behind a Red Lobster restaurant in Fort Smith. Police officers also found $166,000 in the bag, along with various hotel and car rental receipts. The receipts led officers to Knepper, who was staying at a Comfort Inn in Fort Smith, and he was arrested.
Phillips cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint us 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 Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department and the Fort Smith, Ark., Police Department.