The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 2, 2012

Bulletproof glass foils gunman in Lanagan bank robbery attempt

LANAGAN, Mo. — A man who tried to rob the bank in Lanagan may have targeted the town because of the recent suspensions of its two police officers.

But he apparently failed to case the bank.

McDonald County Sheriff Robert Evenson said a man wearing a bandanna over his face and carrying either a rifle or a shotgun tried but failed to rob the Cornerstone Bank between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m. Monday. The sheriff said bulletproof glass that separates the bank’s tellers from its customers foiled the would-be robber.

“Once he came in with the gun, they just dropped to the floor behind the counter and pushed the button (triggering the bank’s alarm), and there wasn’t anything he could do,” Evenson said.

The gunman was forced to leave without any loot, he said.

“He didn’t get anything, and he didn’t hurt anybody,” the sheriff said.

Investigators were analyzing the bank’s surveillance video in an effort to identify the gunman and determine whether he was working alone. The sheriff said the man was alone inside the bank, but it remained unknown whether an accomplice was waiting for him outside. It also remained uncertain whether the weapon the man had was a rifle or a shotgun.

The man is believed to have made his getaway in a dark-colored pickup truck or van, the sheriff said.

Lanagan’s police chief and its only other officer were indicted by a grand jury in May. They were accused of issuing citations on a nonexistent statute and of altering racial profiling reports. Police Chief Larry Marsh, 52, was charged with five counts of forgery, and Officer Michael Gallahue, 38, was charged with two counts.

The sheriff acknowledged that there was no way to know at this point whether the would-be robber targeted the Lanagan bank because of the recent suspensions. But he did not choose the bank in Noel or the bank in Anderson, Evenson said.

Off duty

THE TOWN OF LANAGAN recently hired two new part-time officers, but neither was on duty at the time of the attempted robbery.

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