Ringleader Gets Long Prison Term ForRobbery Spree

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ST. LOUIS - (06/19/06) -- The leader of a local bank robberygang who sometimes dressed as women to pull off some of the biggestcredit union robberies ever was sentenced Friday in federal courtto 37 years in prison. Otis McAllister, 42, was also ordered, alongwith six accomplices, to pay $1.4 million in restitution to thebanks and credit unions they robbed. McAllister was head of a gangresponsible for as many as 18 robberies and attempted robberies inthree states, including two separate incidents at St. LouisCommunity CU which netted the gang almost $480,000. McAllisterpleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and two counts ofbrandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.McAllister’s gang used sophisticated plans and disguises,sometimes hiding behind a credit union then forcing employees atgunpoint to let them in to clean out 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.

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