Police in Missouri got a shock last week when they were called to a bank robbery to find a “little old lady” had made off with thousands of dollars.
Pleasant Hill Police Department arrested 78-year-old Bonnie Gooch on April 5 after being called to a robbery at Goppert Financial Bank.
The Kansas City Star reported on Saturday that Gooch had entered the bank wearing an all-gray ensemble with a black N95 mask, sunglasses and plastic gloves. According to court documents seen by the news outlet, she approached the counter and handed the teller a note which read: “[this] is a robbery I need 13,000 small bills … thank you sorry I didn’t mean to scare you.”
A day after her arrest, she was charged by the Cass County Prosecutors Office with stealing or attempted stealing from a financial institution.
Gooch is being held in custody and has a cash bond of $25,000, authorities said. Her arraignment is reportedly scheduled for May 25.
Representatives for Pleasant Hill Police Department were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune.
The Star reported that surveillance footage from the incident showed Gooch banging on the counter and demanding that the teller move faster to give her the money. She allegedly told the teller not to count the bills, but to “just give it to her.”
Gooch was reportedly spotted leaving the scene in a Buick Enclave with its handicap registration number clearly visible. Officers were able to locate her and pulled her over in the parking lot of a nearby veterinarian’s clinic.
Prosecutors claimed Gooch smelled strongly of alcohol, according to the Star, with police finding a large amount of cash on the floor of her car.
‘Unusual’ age profile
Pleasant Hill Police Chief Tommy Wright told the newspaper that although Gooch did not have any diagnosed health conditions, officials were trying to determine whether any underlying health factors may have been at play in her alleged crime due to her age.
He noted that he had never come across a bank robbery suspect of Gooch’s age in his 30-year policing career, labeling her case “unusual.”
“When officers first approached her, they were kind of confused… It’s a little old lady who steps out,” he told the Star. “We weren’t sure initially that we had the right person.”
No gun was used in the robbery, Wright added, although he said the tellers were afraid of Gooch.
The alleged incident in Pleasant Hill last week marks the third time charges relating to a bank robbery have been brought against Gooch.
Her involvement in bank heists dates back to 1977, when she was convicted after a robbery in California.
More recently, she was involved in a 2020 bank robbery that led to a second conviction. She reportedly handed the teller a birthday card in which she had written: “this is a robbery.”
The BBC reported that Gooch’s probation for the second robbery ended in November 2021.