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Monday, May 2, 2016

Sharp eye nabs suspected Springfield bank robber

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thanks to the keen eye of an Oregon County sheriff's deputy, a Texas man accused of robbing two Springfield banks was apprehended at Harp's grocery store in Thayer on May 27, barely 12 hours after the crimes were committed.

Shortly after coming on shift, Oregon County Deputy Darrin Sorrell looked at a Be On the Lookout For (BOLO) alert from Springfield regarding a bank robber who had robbed two banks earlier in the day. Sorrell said hours after being on shift, while patrolling in the evening hours of May 27, he noticed a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect vehicle, although the tags were not from Missouri, as the BOLO had stated, but from Texas. He said he followed the white older model Mazda 323 toward the Missouri line and said he thought he had lost it.

Sorrell then decided to begin checking parking lots for the vehicle. He said he noticed a car fitting the description in the Harp's parking lot in Thayer. Sorrell said he was in the turning lane to turn onto Highway 142 when he noticed a man enter the car and start it. He said he just pulled up beside the older model car and began to question the suspect, who also fit the description of the man accused of the robberies.

The affidavit to establish probable cause to charge the suspect, which was written by an FBI special agent, indicates Wayne Kirkman Clark, 68, of Big Springs, Texas, told Sorrell the location of his motel room in Cabool and gave the officer consent to search the vehicle. During the search Sorrell located a map with highlighter marks on the street in which the two robberies occurred earlier that morning. There were also sketches of banks in a notebook in the vehicle. Also in the car was a note that was handwritten telling the story used by the suspect in both robberies.

Clark told the tellers at both banks, which were located within blocks of each other, his wife had been taken hostage and would be killed if he didn't give them money. Also found in the vehicle was cash that's serial numbers were later determined to match those taken from one of the robberies. Clark was arrested in the Harp's parking lot after it was determined that he also had outstanding warrants from Texas County, Mo.

Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood said the suspect was taken to the Thayer jail and was later transported by the Federal Bureau of Investigations to Springfield, Mo., for further questioning in the robberies.

Clark was charged in United States District Court May 28 for bank robbery. He is being held without bond until his June 1 hearing in Green County, Mo.

Clark is accused of robbing Peoples Bank of the Ozarks, where he fled with $386, and minutes later robbing Commerce Bank taking $227. Both banks are located blocks from each other, both on Republic Road in Springfield, the area which was highlighted on the map in Clark's vehicle.

Sheriff Underwood said, regarding Deputy Sorrell's performance in apprehending the robber, " He did an outstanding job in the actions he took. I plan to commend him on the job he did."

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