Charges pending in Columbia bank robbery

Darren Everett Mackenzie Leonard

Columbia police worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and area agencies to help track down those believed to be responsible for last Monday’s robbery at Commerce Bank in Columbia.

On Friday, Town and Country, Mo., police took Darren Everett, 42, and Mackenzie Leonard, 26, both of Chesterfield, Mo., into custody in connection with a Jan. 30 bank robbery there.

On Saturday, they were each charged with three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of armed criminal action. Charges against the same two suspects are also expected in the Columbia case. They are currently being held on $500,000 bond.

Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards said his department, along with the FBI and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant in their case on Thursday.

“Although this warrant did not assist us with recovering evidence related to our bank robbery, it did provide information to the identity and location of suspects, as well as the identity of the suspects in the Town and Country and St. Louis County bank robberies,” Edwards said.

On Friday, the CPD provided St. Louis County and Town and Country police with this information. That same afternoon, Everett and Leonard were taken into custody and interviewed by detectives.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Feb. 4, a person wearing a gray wig and putty on their face and carrying a large purse walked into Columbia’s Commerce Bank and handed the teller a note demanding cash, implying they had a gun but not displaying one. The suspect then left through a door to the adjoining grocery store, Market Place, with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Edwards said his department quickly checked into the possibility a similar bank robbery in Town and Country, Mo., on Jan. 30 was connected. Police also looked into similarities with a bank robbery at Neighbors Credit Union in South St. Louis County on Dec. 14.

“The Columbia Police Department will be submitting charges to the United States Attorney’s office in Fairview Heights seeking federal charges,” Edwards said.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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