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Suspect named in bank heist

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hardy robbery suspect may have robbed two Missouri banks

A man who robbed First Community Bank in Hardy at gunpoint Aug. 8 is also being sought in connection to armed robberies at a Bloomsdale, Mo., bank Aug. 15 and an Adrian, Mo., bank Aug. 24.

"When you just look at the video, it looks like the same guy," said Capt. Mark Maples of the Saint Genevieve, Mo., Sheriff's Office. Bloomsdale lies in Saint Genevieve County.

Federal indictments are expected to be filed against John Earl Hall II in the coming days, said Wendall Jines, special agent of the Arkansas State Police.

Hall, 43, was parolled Aug. 1 from the Missouri Department of Corrections in Jefferson City. Hall was to take a train to Kansas City and check in at a community center Aug. 2; however, Hall never showed up, Jines said.

WANTED: This man entered First Community Bank in Hardy Aug. 8 and threatened employees with a semi-automatic pistol before running out the front door with a Dollar General bag full of cash.
A Missouri warrant has been issued for Hall's arrest for a parole violation. Hall was convicted of tampering, similar to theft by receiving charges, in January 2005, Jines said. His rap sheet also consists of an assortment of motor vehicle theft convictions from Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Florida, Jines said.

Hall is described as 6 feet tall and weighing about 188 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a teardrop tattoo under his left eye, a skull with Indian flames on his left arm, tattoos of a skull, tree, mushroom, swastika and flames on his right arm. He also has a skull tattoo on his chest and "Love" tattooed on a finger on his left hand.

Hall is linked to the robberies through surveillance footage recorded in the three banks.

Hall was identified by photographs Jines sent to the Missouri Department of Corrections by e-mail Aug. 22. Missouri authorities responded back Aug. 24, he said.

"We have a person identified, the arrest is impending and the investigation is ongoing," Jines said.

The robber walked into the Bank of Bloomsdale's main branch in Bloomsdale, a town of about 400 residents, around 2:45 p.m. and approached a teller, Maples said. The suspect displayed a small dark-colored handgun and gave the teller a black plastic bag he ordered her to fill with cash, he said.

After the teller fulfilled his request, the robber left the bank on foot. Maples said the robbery probably occurred in two to three minutes. No one was injured in the incident, he said.

In the Aug. 8 robbery in Hardy, the robber entered the bank's front entrance on Main Street around 9:15 a.m. The man displayed a semi-automatic pistol to a teller and demanded she fill a yellow plastic grocery bag, thought to be from Dollar General, with an unspecified amount of cash.

After receiving the bag of cash he fled out the front door on foot heading east on Main Street.

Not only were the robberies similar, so are the descriptions of the robbers.

"Our bank's video surveillance didn't turn out as well as the footage from the Hardy robbery," Maples said, adding that the county is working with the FBI to enhance the video. "We'd probably have a stronger case if our photographs were better."

In the Hardy robbery the suspect, originally thought to be in his mid 30s, had short dark hair and a mustache. He had "lots of tattoos" on both of his forearms and possibly another tattoo under his left eye that was covered by a Band-Aid. The robber was wearing a black T-shirt with white lettering over the left chest area and larger white writing across the back. He was wearing blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

The Bloomsdale robber fit the physical description and also had a Band-Aid under his left eye, Maples said. The suspect was wearing a dark blue nylon shirt with 3/4-length sleeves and a white logo, a black ball cap with white stripes, dark blue nylon or cotton twill pants and black and white tennis shoes, Maples said.

Adrian Bank in Adrian, Mo., near Kansas City was robbed Aug. 24. Jines said the footage of the robbery shows an armed gunman who also favors Hall.

"The description, the build, the mustache, everything we had here was similar to the Hardy robbery," Maples said. "We're hoping this guy is the one who committed the robbery here and the one in Hardy. It would make our jobs a lot easier."

Bank robbery holds a minimum 10-year prison sentence; however, that term is extended if a weapon was used, Maples said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hardy Police Department at 870-856-2136, Sharp County Sheriff's Office at 870-994-7356, Arkansas State Police at 870-935-7302 or the FBI at 870-932-0700.

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