News and Press Releases

jury convicts kC man of attempted armed bank robbery
after shoot-out with bank guard, federal agent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of attempting to rob Blue Ridge Bank and Trust at gunpoint, after being foiled by a bank guard and a federal agent who was a customer at the bank.

Eric L. Smith, 34, of Kansas City, was found guilty of attempted armed bank robbery, using a firearm during a violent crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Smith attempted to rob Blue Ridge Bank and Trust, 6202 Raytown Trafficway, Raytown, Mo., on June 23, 2012. Smith entered the bank and pointed a firearm at a security guard who was seated in the lobby. Smith walked straight to the guard, still pointing the firearm at him, and demanded that the guard give him his weapon. Smith fled from the bank without taking any money when the guard fired three rounds from his 9mm Glock handgun in Smith’s direction. A bullet fired from the guard’s gun shattered the glass in one of the doors through which Smith exited the bank.

The only customer in the bank, a federal agent who was dressed in plain clothes, drew his weapon, pointed it at Smith and pursued Smith out of the bank along with the guard. Smith stopped in the parking lot and turned and fired one shot toward the bank, guard and federal agent. Smith continued running through the parking lot and around the western corner of the strip mall. Smith ran to ared four-door sedan he had parked behind the mall and sped away.

An anonymous tipster saw a surveillance photo of Smith and called the Crime Stoppers TIP Hotline on June 26, 2012. The caller reported that Smith had a bandaged right hand since Saturday but no hand injury on Friday night. The tip led law enforcement officers to the home of Smith’s mother, where he was staying. Smith was at home and was arrested on outstanding warrants.

When agents searched the house, they found a loaded .40-caliber Ruger under a cushion of the couch. The Ruger matched the firearm used by Smith in the attempted bank robbery. The brand of ammunition found in the firearm matched the live round and the shell casing found in the parking lot of Blue Ridge Bank and Trust. Additionally, a forensic expert determined that the .40-caliber shell casing recovered from the parking lot was fired from the Ruger found under the couch cushion. The Ruger contained live rounds of ammunition that matched the shell casing and bullet recovered from the crime scene. Law enforcement officers also identified a Ford four-door sedan parked at the residence that matches the vehicle in which the robber fled.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Smith has two prior felony convictions for aggravated robbery.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 12, 2013.

Under federal statutes, Smith is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 45 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. 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 Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Castle. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

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