|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2010||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|HTTP://WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe||DIRECT: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
JURY FINDS COUPLE GUILTY OF BANK ROBBERY IN BEAUMONT
BEAUMONT, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that a man and woman have been found guilty by a jury of robbing a bank in the Eastern District of Texas.
KIMBERLY MICHELLE KIRKWOOD, 25, and MARK ANTHONY OWENS, 25, both of Beaumont, were convicted on Jan. 13, of armed bank robbery following an eight-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield. The jury returned the verdict around 5:05 pm after deliberating for about 2 ½ hours.
According to information presented in court, Kirkwood was employed as a bank teller at the Texas State Bank Westside Branch located at Phelan and Major in Beaumont and Owens was a well-known local personal trainer and was employed as a contract worker at a local refinery. Testimony during trial established that Kirkwood and Owens had been involved in a romantic relationship for several years and planned the bank robbery. The day before the robbery, Kirkwood loaded her teller drawer with an unusually high cash balance of nearly $90,000. The next morning on Sep. 8, 2007, as Kirkwood was opening the bank with another teller, she let Owens in to the bank. Kirkwood posed as a victim as Owens, claiming to have a weapon, took the other teller hostage. Kirkwood emptied her teller drawer into a duffle bag and Owens escaped with the bag in a truck, but not before the other teller captured his license plate number. The truck, which belonged to a friend of Owens, was recovered 10 days later abandoned nearby. Owens quit his job at the refinery the day of the bank robbery. Kirkwood was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 20, 2007, and Owens was named in a superseding indictment on Aug. 6, 2008. The money has never been recovered.
Kirkwood and Owens each face up to 25 years in federal prison at sentencing. Sentencing dates have not been set.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Ross and Randall L. Fluke.
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