Plea Deal Abruptly Ends Trial Of RobberyRingleader
ST. LOUIS - (02/08/06) The leader of a local bankrobbery gang responsible for some of the biggest credit unionrobberies ever agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to conspiracy andweapons charges, cutting short a trial that had already run forfive days. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Otis McAllister,41, will face 32 years to life in prison. McAllister was head of agang responsible for as many as 18 robberies and attemptedrobberies in three states, including two separate incidents at St.Louis Community CU which netted the gang almost $480,000.McAllister agreed to plead guilty after prosecutors called two ofhis girlfriends to the witness stand, where they provided damagingtestimony. While defense lawyers were able to discredit testimonyprovided by McAllisters accomplices, it was hard todiscredit the womens testimony because he was the father oftheir children and they had no interest in seeing him go to prison,a defense lawyer said. One of the women testified that McAllisterasked her to drive the getaway car after one of the robberies.McAllisters gang used sophisticated plans and disguises,sometimes hiding behind a credit union then forcing employees atgunpoint to let them in to rifle the vaults. The group also hitSouth Community CU, in St. Louis, for $196,000, and attemptedrobberies at Alliance CU, Hazelwood, Mo., Southern Illinois AreaCU, Midwest CU, Florissant, Mo., Gateway Federal Employees CU, PineLawn, Mo. and First Community CU, Fairview Heights, Ill. Theirbiggest heist was at Cass Commercial Bank in St. Louis, when theygot away with $285,505.