News and Press Releases

Two Brothers Charged in Wichita Bank Robbery



March 20, 2012

WICHITA, KAN. – Two brothers have been charged with robbing a bank in Wichita, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Lessie B. Cooper, 33, Ft. Worth, Texas, and Justin W. Cooper, 23, are charged with one count of bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during the robbery.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita alleges that on March 16, 2012, Justin Cooper drove his brother, Lessie, to Commerce Bank at 1701 S. Broadway in Wichita. Lessie Cooper entered the bank wearing a backpack, gloves, a scarf over his face, white shoes and a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. He was carrying a Hi Point Model 995 9 mm rifle. He vaulted the counter and brandished the rifle before taking some money and fleeing the bank.

A Wichita police officer spotted him behind the bank engulfed in a cloud of red smoke caused by a bank dye pack exploding. He got into the car driven by his brother and they attempted to flee the officer. After a chase that lasted several minutes, the car stopped on Clark Street. Justin Cooper surrendered immediately while Lessie Cooper fled on foot. Lessie Cooper broke into a house at 2131 S. Silver, where officers found him hiding under a bed. He had discarded clothing stained with dye and dressed himself in clothes he found in the house.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the bank robbery charge and a penalty of not less than seven years and not more than life and a fine up to $250,000 on the firearms charge. The Wichita Police Department and the FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.



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