Missouri man, woman to be charged with Columbia bank robbery

Image taken from video surveillance of Monday’s bank robbery.

Columbia police worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and area agencies to help track down those responsible for robbing Commerce Bank in Columbia shortly after 1 p.m. last Monday.

The same person or persons were believed to be linked to other recent bank robberies committed across the river.

Turns out those suspicions may have been correct. On Friday, Town and Country, Mo., police took Darren Everett, 42, and Mackenzie Leonard, 26, both 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. Police told St. Louis news outlets the pair may be linked to the Columbia bank robbery.

Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards said Monday that his department, along with the FBI and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant in this 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 the St. Louis County Police Department and Town and Country Police Department with this information. On Friday afternoon, these two suspects were taken into custody and interviewed by detectives.   

The Columbia bank robbery suspect, wearing a gray wig, some sort of putty or make-up on their face and carrying a large purse, handed the teller a note demanding cash and “implied that they had a gun” but never displayed it. The teller complied with this demand, and the suspect left through a door to the adjoining grocery store, Market Place, with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported.

Chief Edwards said the suspect apparently entered Market Place and exited that store to the south before entering the bank.

Video from the bank and grocery store captured images of the suspect.

Waterloo police K9 officer Trin Dawes and police dog Ayla search the area near Market Place grocery store in Columbia after the Commerce Bank location in Columbia Centre was robbed around 1 p.m. Monday. (Corey Saathoff photo)

Edwards said his department checked into the possibility that a similar bank robbery in Town and Country, Mo., on Jan. 30 was connected.

In that case, a suspect wearing a black wig and make-up and also carrying a purse handed the teller a note demanding cash and implied that they had a weapon. The suspect had a lower-toned voice in that incident, according to reports.

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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