News and Press Releases

springfield husband, wife indicted for armed bank robbery

December 15, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., husband and wife were indicted by a federal grand jury today for the armed robbery of Great Southern Bank in Springfield.

Kwanell Allen, 21, and Nilsa Allen, 27, were charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Kwanell Allen on Nov. 29, 2011, and adds his wife as a co-defendant.

Today’s indictment alleges that the Allens aided and abetted one another to use firearms to rob Great Southern Bank, 507 E. Kearney, Springfield, on Nov. 26, 2011.

Kwanell Allen is also charged with an additional count of using firearm in a crime of violence.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Allen entered Great Southern Bank at approximately 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. Allen was wearing all black clothing, including a black ski mask and black hooded sweatshirt, the affidavit says. He was allegedly armed with two semi-automatic pistols.

Allen allegedly conducted a takeover-style robbery of the bank. According to the affidavit, he first entered the branch manager’s office and held a pistol to her head. Allen forced her into the lobby as he continued to hold the gun to her head, the affidavit says, and demanded that a teller remove cash from the teller drawers and put it into the trash can behind the teller counter. He then ordered the teller to remove the liner of the trash can and give it to him, according to the affidavit, and ordered the teller to climb over the counter and into the lobby.

Allen allegedly forced the manager and the teller into the manager’s office, where he made them rip the phone cord out of the wall, lay face down on the floor, and count to 100 as he left the bank.

Cameras inside the bank captured surveillance photos during the robbery. Cameras located outside the bank, the affidavit says, captured images of Allen’s vehicle, a maroon minivan with a distinct grill and no visible license plates, as he arrived just prior to the robbery. Several surveillance photos were provided to local media outlets, and the next day the Springfield Police Department received a tip from a caller who identified Allen.

According to the affidavit, surveillance videos from the bank captured Nilsa Allen casing the bank prior to the robbery and driving the vehicle used to transport Kwanell Allen to the bank on the day of the robbery.

Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges 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 James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the FBI and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

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