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‘Sorry I didn’t mean to scare you’: 78-year-old Missouri woman charged with robbing bank using note

Bonnie Gooch (Pleasant Hill Missouri Police Dept.)

Bonnie Gooch (Pleasant Hill Missouri Police Dept.)

A “wily” 78-year-old woman in Missouri has been arrested after she allegedly robbed a bank — and not for the first time. Bonnie Betsy Gooch was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of stealing or attempting to steal from a financial institution, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to the Pleasant Hill Police Department, Gooch was arrested a short while 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 walked up to the counter and passed one of the tellers a note which reportedly read, in part, “I need 13,000 small bills,” and ended with a surprising line: “thank you sorry I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Police say that the bank’s surveillance camera showed Gooch, who was unarmed during the alleged robbery, hitting the counter with her fists while ordering the teller to move faster in collecting the money and not to bother counting the bills, according to the Star. After the teller handed her the cash, Gooch reportedly pulled out of the parking lot in her Buick Enclave — with her handicapped parking permit on display — and turned onto Highway 7.

Officers caught up with Gooch and conducted a traffic stop on her vehicle in the parking lot of the Pleasant Hill Animal Clinic, per the Star. The officers who pulled Gooch over reportedly said that the elderly woman reeked of alcohol and there were loose bills strewn about the floor of her car.

Pleasant Hill Police Chief Thomas said the ordeal was both “tense” and “shocking.”

“Well, she is very wily,” 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 that is who is driving the suspect vehicle, it’s a little shocking.”

According to court records obtained by the Star, Gooch was convicted of robbing a different bank in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, in 2020 using a similar tactic. She reportedly entered a Bank of the West on the evening of Jan. 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 that his mother was “off her rocker” and told him she was about to go rob a bank. Gooch was apprehended a short while after the robbery. She was convicted in the prior case. but her sentence was reportedly suspended in lieu of probation, which expired in November 2021.

Gooch was reportedly also convicted of robbing a bank in California in 1977, but court documents in that case were not publicly available.


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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.