The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 18, 2012

Alba man pleads guilty to bank robberies

Michael D. Manis, of Alba, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to robbing banks in Joplin, Webb City and Springfield in February and March.

Manis, 52, changed his plea to guilty on three counts of bank robbery by force at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield said Manis admitted using pellet guns to rob the US Bank in Webb City on Feb. 14, the Great Southern Bank in Springfield on Feb. 24 and the Great Southern Bank in Joplin on March 14.

Manis is facing up to 25 years in prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing hearing will be scheduled when a pre-sentence investigation is completed by the U.S. Probation Office.

Joplin police arrested Manis on March 27 based on DNA analysis of evidence retrieved from the scene of the robbery of the Great Southern Bank at 1232 S. Range Line Road. In a subsequent interview of the suspect by Detective Brady Stuart, he confessed to robbing not only the Joplin bank but also the banks in Webb City and Springfield.

A probable-cause affidavit written by an FBI agent and filed with the charges in federal court states that Manis told Stuart that he used a different pellet gun in each robbery.

A search of his vehicle turned up one of the pellet guns. A belt and a pair of shoes believed to have been worn by Manis during one or more of the robberies also were seized. The affidavit states that the belt and shoes match those the defendant appeared to be wearing in bank surveillance photos of the robberies.

A federal grand jury on April 3 indicted Manis on the three counts of bank robbery by force.

Mistaken witnesses

Eyewitnesses to the March 14 robbery of the Great Southern Bank in Joplin told police at the time that the lone gunman appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s. Michael D. Manis, who later was charged with the crime and pleaded guilty on Friday, proved to be in his 50s.

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