Washington State Resident Pleads Guilty to String of Bank Robberies
Carl F. Kieffer, 49, a resident of Spokane, Washington, pled guilty to three bank robberies on May 8, 2014, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. One of the bank robberies charged was the robbery of the Bank of O’Fallon in O’Fallon, Illinois, on October 15, 2013. By agreement with other federal districts, Kieffer also pled guilty to robbing the Lusk State Bank in Lusk, Wyoming, in the District of Wyoming, on August 26, 2013, and robbing the Fifth Third Bank in Charlotte, Michigan, in the Western District of Missouri, on October 9, 2013. All the bank robberies are charged in separate cases but were consolidated into a single proceeding.
On each individual case, Kieffer faces a term of in federal prison of not more than 20 years, a fine up to $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than five years. Kieffer will also be ordered to pay restitution to the financial institutions for their losses. Sentencing is scheduled for September 4, 2014, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Kieffer has been held without bond since his arrest on a criminal complaint on October 16, 2013.
With respect to the Illinois case, the offense occurred on October 15, 2013, when Kieffer entered the Bank of O’Fallon, approached one of the tellers, and placed several manila envelopes on the counter in front of her. “No dye pack” and “he has a weapon” was written on one of the envelopes. Kieffer told the teller he wanted 100s, 50s, and 20s and the money from her bottom drawer. When the teller informed Kieffer that she only had ones in her bottom drawer, Kieffer left the bank. Law enforcement officers were notified of the robbery and provided a description of the suspect. O’Fallon police officers in an unmarked police vehicle saw a car driven by a male who matched the description of the suspect and who appeared suspicious. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Kieffer, fled from the officers when they tried to conduct a traffic stop. He began speeding and driving erratically, which almost caused at least one crash. He was also passing cars on the shoulder of a roadway and cars that were stopped at a red light. Officers lost the vehicle near Old Collinsville Road in Swansea, Illinois.
A Belleville police officer found Keiffer’s vehicle abandoned in a cornfield off Smelting Works Road in Swansea, Illinois. Keiffer was found hiding in the cornfield. He thanked the officers for not shooting him while being escorted to the police vehicle. Inside his car was a deposit slip from the Bank of O’Fallon that had a handwritten note that read “I have a gun 100s 50s 20s”; additionally, $3,330 was removed from Keiffer’s person. When the money was being removed, Kieffer stated that this was the money he got from the bank.
Kieffer also admitted robbing several other banks over a period of less than two months. A subsequent investigation revealed that, in addition to the robbery of the Bank of O’Fallon on October 15, 2013, Kieffer robbed the following banks:
- Lusk State Bank, Lusk, Wyoming, on August 26, 2013
- Chase Bank, Novi, Michigan, on September 5, 2013
- New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank, Tipp City, Ohio, on September 13,2013
- Bank and Trust of Farmersville, Farmersville, Illinois, on September 16, 2013
- Huntington National Bank, Bolivar, Ohio, on October 3, 2013
- Fifth Third Bank, Charlotte, Michigan, on October 9, 2013
The Wyoming offense occurred on August 26, 2013, when Kieffer handed the teller a note written on a deposit/savings slip that read “This is a robbery, give me your money.” When the teller asked him if it was “for real,” Kieffer replied that it was and gestured toward a black bulge on his right side belt area, which the teller took to mean he had a gun. After taking the money, he also took the note and the pen he used to write the note.
In an interview with the FBI on October 15, 2013, Kieffer admitted that the Lusk State Bank was his first bank robbery.
The Fifth Third Bank robbery in Charlotte, Michigan, was also accomplished by handing a teller a manila envelope that had “I have gun. All 100s, 50s, 20s. Now act normal. When done go to bathroom two min. or someone get hurt” written on it.
The Illinois case was investigated by the O’Fallon Police Department, the Belleville Police Department, the Swansea Police Department, the Fairview Heights Police Department, the Shiloh Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In Wyoming, the case was investigated by the Lusk Police Department, the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General, Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In Michigan, the case was investigated by the Charlotte Police Department, Michigan State Police, the Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.