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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Man Pleads Guilty to Thayer Bank Robbery

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a man who earlier robbed a bank in Tennessee pleaded guilty in federal court today to also robbing a bank in Thayer, Mo.


Bobby Laughton Yates, 26, address unknown, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to one count of bank robbery.


By pleading guilty today, Yates admitted that he stole $2,325 from Great Southern Bank, 323 E. Walnut St., Thayer, on April 22, 2015. Yates entered the bank and asked for a deposit slip. A teller directed Yates to a kiosk to the right of the teller’s station. Yates went to the kiosk and wrote out a note on a withdrawal slip. Yates presented the slip, and a plastic bag, to the teller. The slip stated, “put ALL the Money in the BAG Dont do anything dumb.”  Yates instructed the teller not to draw the attention of the bank manager. The teller noted Yates kept his hand in his left sweater pocket, where she observed a bulge that appeared to be a gun.


Yates told the teller to give him the money from all the drawers; however, the teller informed him she only had access to hers. The teller placed all the bills in her drawer, into the bag and handed it to Yates. As Yates was leaving, he ran into the door jam and dropped what appeared to be a handgun. Yates picked the item up, but part of a broken piece was left behind. The broken piece was later determined to be part of an Airsoft gun.


Yates was later arrested for robbing the Patriot Bank in Millington, Tenn., a week earlier and has pleaded guilty to both bank robberies.


Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of five years in federal prison without parole and Yates must pay $2,325 in restitution to the bank.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Thayer, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI.

Updated March 16, 2016