Four Charged in Staged Kidnapping, Bank Robbery
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 12, 2010|
KANSAS CITY, KS—Four men from Overland Park, Kan., have been charged with staging a kidnapping and bank robbery to cover up a theft by a bank employee.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., today charges Michael Grace, 20, Overland Park, Kan.; Brenden L. Connors, 18, Overland Park, Kan.; David Batson, 20, Overland Park, Kan.; and Jacob McWhirt, 28, Overland Park, Kan., with one count of theft from a bank.
The complaint alleges Grace, an employee of U.S. Bank at 10100 West 119th Street, Overland Park, Kan., was aided by Connors, Batson, and McWhirt in embezzling money from the bank.
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were called to the bank Nov. 10, 2010, in response to a report of a kidnapping and bank robbery. Grace told investigators he had been kidnapped and forced to go to the bank to get money for the robber. Grace was discovered about 7:20 a.m. in the bank. He was bound with duct tape, seated in a chair, and bleeding from the nose.
Investigators reviewed surveillance footage showing Grace being led around the empty bank by a man wearing a mask. No weapon was visible in the masked man’s hands.
During the course of the investigation, FBI agents learned that the story Grace had been kidnapped was not true. In fact, Grace had embezzled funds from the bank. Conners had been the man wearing the mask. Grace and Conners used Connors’ key to the bank’s automated teller machine to steal money. Batson had driven Grace and Conners to the bank in order to steal the money. McWhirt had assisted by hiding the stolen money in the trunk of his car.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million. The FBI and the Overland Park Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tris Hunt is prosecuting.