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East Texas Bank Robbery: Elaborate Master Plan Thwarted Because, Well, the Bank Was Closed

The three-man, one-woman robbery crew certainly dressed the part. Each of them went to the bank in Alto, Texas, Wednesday afternoon dressed head-to-toe in long-sleeved black attire.

What's more, they were adequately tooled-up. At least two pistols were brought along, according to police, along with a black bag to put the money in and a two-way radio capable of monitoring multiple law enforcement frequencies in both Anderson and Cherokee counties.

So at least some planning went into the execution of this attempted heist. If only they had delved as deeply into the logistics.

According to KTRE, Police in Cherokee County say witnesses claim three men in black walked up to the door of Alto's BancorpSouth bank at 3:50 p.m. and attempted to walk in. One of them carried a black bag in one hand and what appeared to be a pistol in the other. That was where the plan started to unravel: The bank had closed for the day.

(Curse those bankers and their candy-ass work schedules! It wasn't even four yet, for the love of Willie Sutton.)

Employees inside the bank called police after they saw the men try the door with what had to be mounting frustration and then flee the scene in a Dodge truck with another suspect. They were last seen heading north on Highway 69, and Cherokee County sheriffs and Rusk police set up a dragnet.

A Rusk cop eventually saw the truck and pulled it over. After stopping, the driver waited for the cop to get out and approach the truck, and then drove off again, according to a police report. Finally the chase ended in Rusk, where Channing Nicole Johnson, Evandreal Simpson, Mujibur Shaw and Carl Kelly were taken into custody.

The quartet had been seen throwing things out of the truck during the police chase, and cops were able to find two bullets, two pistols and that fancy radio, after both scouring the highway and searching the truck.

Not found, obviously: a printed copy of the bank's business hours.

Each of the would-be robbers is charged with aggravated robbery, engaging in organized criminal activity, tampering with physical evidence and evading arrest. Bonds for the foursome total over one million dollars.


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