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Press Release

KC Woman Indicted for Two Armed Bank Robberies Following High-Speed Police Chase

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Missouri, woman who led police officers on a high-speed chase down Grand Avenue was indicted by a federal grand jury today for two armed bank robberies.

Sarah Theresa Watkins, 41, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Watkins on Feb. 5, 2021.

Today’s indictment charges Watkins with the armed robbery of Central Bank in Claycomo, Mo., on Feb. 1, 2021, and the armed robbery of Capitol Federal Savings in Liberty, Mo., on Feb. 2, 2021.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaints, Watkins entered Central Bank at 11:24 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2021, and approached a teller window. Watkins handed the teller a note that stated "HAND OVER ALL THE MONEY AND I WON'T SHOOT." She allegedly pulled a gun out of her purse and pointed it at the teller. When the teller pulled the money out of the drawers and placed it on the counter, the affidavit says, Watkins took the money and ran out of the bank. The bank reported a loss of $1,819.

Surveillance video footage from an exterior ATM of the bank captured video footage of a white Hyundai, four-door sedan. This vehicle appears to be the same vehicle that was involved in a bank robbery that occurred the next day, on Feb. 2, 2021.

According to the affidavit, Watkins entered Capitol Federal Savings in Liberty at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2021. Watkins took a note out of her bag and placed it on the counter, the affidavit says. The note stated: "HAND ME ALL THE MONEY OR I WILL SHOOT." While the teller was reading the note, Watkins allegedly stated: "All of it, hurry up, all of it!" The teller began opening her cash drawer, the affidavit says, when she heard the noise of a heavy object hitting the counter. The teller saw that Watkins had a black semi-automatic handgun in her hand, resting on the counter and pointed at the teller. When the teller took money out of the drawer and placed
it on the counter, Watkins allegedly took the money, put it in her bag, and left through the main door of the lobby. The bank reported a loss of $971.

Surveillance video cameras captured footage of the white Hyundai four-door sedan (and license plate number) allegedly driven by Watkins when she arrived at the bank, and when she left the bank.

Law enforcement officers located the vehicle on Feb. 4, 2021. Kansas City police officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop in the area of 27th Street and Brooklyn Avenue. Watkins, however, drove around the officers in an attempt to flee. A vehicle pursuit ensued, during which officers attempted to immobilize Watkins’ vehicle on three occasions, but she continued to drive around the officers and flee. The pursuit continued at high rates of speed, up to 70 miles per hour while going northbound on Grand Avenue. During the pursuit, traffic was congested at different points along Grand Avenue. The pursuit ended when Watkins lost control of the vehicle in the area E. 21st Street and Walnut Street. Watkins attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended by police officers. As she exited the vehicle, the affidavit says, Watkins reached into her waistband, then pointed at officers with her index finger extended forward, and her thumb extended upward, possibly attempting to imitate a handgun.   

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 Trey Alford. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated February 24, 2021

Violent Crime