News and Press Releases

excelsior springs man pleads guilty to bank robbery

September 7, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Excelsior Springs, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to robbing Community Bank of Missouri in Excelsior Springs.

Joseph J. Laird, 32, of Excelsior Springs, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge contained in a Dec. 7, 2010, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Laird admitted that he stole $1,577 from Community Bank of Missouri, 1400 Hospital Drive, Excelsior Springs.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Laird entered the bank on Nov. 26, 2010. The bank teller saw Laird approaching the bank, the affidavit says, and noticed that his hood was pulled up over his head and his face was covered by a black mask. Believing that he was going to rob the bank, the teller began removing the large denominations of currency from her top drawer and locked it in her lower drawer in order to minimize the financial loss to the bank. The teller activated the alarm as Laird entered the bank.

Laird handed the teller a note, which said, “This is a robbery put the money in the bag no one gets hurt” (sic). The teller took $1,577 from her drawer and put it into a cloth bag, the affidavit says, and Laird left the bank and ran in the direction of the nearby hospital.

Another employee saw Laird drive out of the hospital parking lot in a red Dodge Neon and stop at the intersection of 69 Highway. She gave this information to the teller, who had called 911. Excelsior Springs police officers arrived at 10:27 a.m. and pulled over Laird’s vehicle when he turned onto 69 Highway.

Under federal statutes, Laird is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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 Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI and the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Police Department.

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