Gang Charged In Multi-State RobberyRing

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ST. LOUIS - (03/15/05) -- Seven men and one woman were chargedMonday in one of the nation's most successful bank robberyconspiracies, which netted more than $1.4 million from nine creditunions and banks in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio over the past fiveyears. Among the robberies attributed to the gang were two of thebiggest ever at credit unions: at the Jennings, Mo., branch of St.Louis Community CU on June 12, 2000, when $266,293 was stolen; andat the same credit union's St. Louis branch on December 8, 2000,when $211,590 was taken. The credit union was targeted because oneof the gang members owned a company which provided security guardsfor the two locations, authorities said. The group planned itsrobberies in sophisticated ways; by pre-placing stolen getaway carsnear the target institutions, wearing disguises, apprehendingemployees as they arrived for work and forcing them to open thedoors, using lookouts, and disarming alarm systems. The robbersallegedly used cell phones, two-way radios and other communicationgear to communicate with each other before, during and after theheists, and used guns to take credit union and bank employeeshostage. The group also hit South Community CU, in St. Louis, for$196,000, and attempted robberies at Alliance CU, Hazelwood, Mo.,Southern Illinois Area CU, Midwest CU, Florissant, Mo., GatewayFederal Employees CU, Pine Lawn, Mo., First Community CU, FairviewHeights, Ill., and St. Louis Community CU, in St. Louis, again.Their biggest heist was at Cass Commercial Bank in St. Louis onOctober 29, 2002, when $285,505 was stolen. Those charged infederal indictments unsealed Monday were: Otis McAllister, 40,Franklin Morris, 42, David Greenwade, 43, Scott Williams, 35, BarryBall, 27, Reginald Thomas, 30, and Jeffrey Moore, 22, and IdaMerkson, 35, all of St. Louis.

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