Pharmacy bag used in bank robbery may be key evidence

Police use a variety of methods to identify suspected criminals. One of the most common is closed-circuit TV cameras. Sometimes, the cameras provide a high-resolution facial photo and sometimes the cameras reveal more mundane items that can lead to an arrest. In a recent bank robbery in Benton, a pharmacy bag led police to a man who allegedly used a toy pistol to steal $12,500.

According to reports, the man entered the bank and walked up to a teller. He displayed what the teller took to be a handgun. The man told the teller to fill a plastic bag with cash. The teller complied, placing $12,500 into the bag. The man then left the bank without making any obvious attempts to hide his identity.

According to an FBI affidavit, an agent recognized the plastic bag as the type used by Veterans’ Administration pharmacies. The agent took a photograph of the bag to the VA pharmacy in Benton, where the clerk verified that the pharmacy used that type of bag. Police also said they received multiple tips about the robber’s identity. After reportedly identifying the suspect, police went to his public housing apartment and arrested him without incident. The man waived his Miranda rights and spoke with police. He allegedly admitted that the gun was a toy. Police also found significant amounts of cash in his pockets, his wallet and the trunk of his car.

If convicted of bank robbery, the man faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The magistrate judge who conducted the preliminary hearing allowed the man to be released from custody on condition of wearing an electronic monitoring device. The suspect in this case is 82-years-old, and his age raises many questions, including his competence to stand trial. Nevertheless, he is facing a serious criminal charge and will need to plan a sound criminal defense strategy.