Sister, Brother Plead Guilty to Armed Robbery at Excelsior Springs Bank
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Kansas City, Kan., siblings have pleaded guilty in federal court to the armed robbery of an Excelsior Springs, Mo., bank, which was followed by a high-speed chase until the robbers’ vehicle crashed.
Virginia Lynn Spencer, 29, and her brother, Charles Ralph Spencer, 25, both of Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, to the charges contained in a June 10, 2014, federal indictment.
Virginia and Charles Spencer each pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting an armed bank robbery and one count of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Co-defendant Steven Dale Robinson, 23, also of Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an armed bank robbery on Nov. 13, 2014.
By pleading guilty, all three defendants admitted to stealing $11,883 at gunpoint from Bank Midwest, 201 N. Jesse James Rd., Excelsior Springs, on May 23, 2014.
Before robbing the bank, in order to help disguise themselves for the robbery, the defendants went to a K-Mart store in Independence, Mo., where they purchased black Missouri t-shirts, a package of gardening gloves, head coverings, sunglasses, black spray dye for Charles Spencer’s facial hair and electrical tape for Virginia Spencer’s shoes. They cased banks in Polo, Braymer and Richmond, Mo., before deciding to rob the Bank Midwest in Excelsior Springs.
Prior to entering the bank, Virginia Spencer provided Charles Spencer with a loaded Rossi .32-caliber revolver. Robinson, the driver, backed the vehicle up near the bank’s entrance in order to facilitate the getaway.
Virginia and Charles Spencer entered the bank at about 5:30 p.m. Charles Spencer stood in the lobby and pointed a Rossi .32-caliber revolver in the air with his finger on the trigger. Charles Spencer displayed the revolver during the entire course of the robbery. They yelled at bank employees to sit on the floor. Virginia Spencer then jumped over the middle teller counter and began going through the teller drawers, while Charles Spencer stood near the teller station, revolver displayed. Virginia Spencer took money out of the teller drawers, placed it in a clear trash bag, and jumped back over the counter.
Both robbers ran from the bank, with Virginia Spencer saying, “Have a nice day” on her way out. They got into the vehicle being driven by Robinson and sped out of the parking lot.
A bank customer, who had just conducted a transaction at the ATM with her three children in the vehicle, drove around toward the front of the bank to leave the parking lot. As the bank robbers’ vehicle left the Bank Midwest parking lot it narrowly missed the customer’s vehicle. She immediately called 911 on her cell phone and reported the vehicle’s direction of travel.
Clay County Sheriff’s deputies saw the vehicle near 69 Highway and Lightburn Road. Attempting to escape from pursuing law enforcement officers, Robinson drove approximately 85 miles per hour while going southbound (the wrong way) in the northbound lane of traffic. Robinson ran traffic stops, struck a concrete barrier, and continued evading police officers, driving over 50 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods. After turning into oncoming traffic on Missouri Highway 291, Robinson continued to speed at 65 miles per hour, eventually reaching approximately 90 miles per hour. During this chase, Charles Spencer threw the firearm out the car window. Eventually, Robinson was traveling at such a high rate of speed that while attempting to round a corner, he lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree head on near Kings Highway and Dam Road in Liberty, Mo. Virginia and Charles Spencer were both injured in the crash and were transported to a nearby hospital.
Law enforcement officers found a bag containing $11,883 on the front floorboard of the vehicle. Police recovered the firearm near the crash site.
Under federal statutes, Virginia and Charles Spencer are each subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. Robinson is subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin G. Davids. It was investigated by the FBI, the Clay County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Police Department.