A “sly” 78-year-old Missouri woman has been arrested after allegedly robbing a bank — and not for the first time. Bonnie Betsy Gooch was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of theft or attempted theft from a financial institution, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
According to the Pleasant Hill Police Department, Gooch was arrested shortly after she robbed the Goppert Financial Bank located in the 2100 block of MO-7, about 30 miles southeast of Kansas City.
Witnesses told police that Gooch was wearing all gray clothing, a black N95 face mask, plastic gloves and black sunglasses when she entered the bank on the afternoon of April 5, the Kansas City Star reported. She then went to the counter and handed one of the tellers a note that allegedly read in part “I need 13,000 small bills,” ending with a surprising line: “thank you sorry I didn’t mean to scare you .”
Police say the bank’s surveillance camera showed Gooch, who was unarmed during the alleged robbery, punch the teller as she ordered the teller to speed up collecting the money and not worry about counting the bills, according to the Star. After the teller gave her the cash, Gooch allegedly pulled out of the parking space in her Buick Enclave — with her handicap parking permit on display — and turned onto Highway 7.
Officers caught up to Gooch and conducted a traffic stop on her vehicle in the Pleasant Hill Animal Clinic parking lot, according to the Star. The officers who pulled Gooch over reportedly said the elderly woman smelled of alcohol and loose bills were strewn across the floor of her car.
Pleasant Hill Police Chief Thomas said the ordeal was both “tense” and “shocking.”
“Well, she’s very crafty,” Chief Wright told Kansas City, Missouri, Fox affiliate WDAF-TV. “Obviously it was a tense situation, but when the hands of an elderly woman come out of the car and she’s the one driving the suspect vehicle, it’s a bit shocking.”
According to court records obtained by the Star, Gooch was convicted of robbing another bank in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, in 2020 using a similar tactic. She allegedly walked into a Bank of the West on the evening of January 23, 2020 and handed the bank teller a blank birthday card with the words “this is a robbery” written across the top. In the note, Gooch reportedly requested $3,000 in small bills.
Police were tipped off to the robbery by Gooch’s son, who called 911 about a half hour before the robbery and told the dispatcher his mother was “off her rocker” and told him she was going to rob a bank. Gooch was apprehended shortly after the robbery. She was convicted in the previous case. but her sentence was reportedly suspended in lieu of probation, which expired in November 2021.
Gooch was also reportedly convicted of robbing a California bank in 1977, but court documents in that case were not publicly available.
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