Armed president of the Peoples Bank & Trust in Troy stops robbery suspect from leaving scene

Bank exec. pulls gun on robbery suspect

TROY, Mo. (AP) - When a man in a Chucky mask robbed the Peoples Bank & Trust in Troy, Mo., he surely wasn't expecting the bank president to turn into Dirty Harry.

But authorities say that's what happened Tuesday when Donald Ray Lee tried to make off with $5,000 he stole from the bank. Lee, 58, left the bank with the money he had demanded but was followed outside by the bank's president, David Thompson, who drew a Colt .380 and kept Lee at bay along with another armed bank official until police arrived, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported ( http://bit.ly/VdNtbN ).

Lee remained in jail Thursday on $50,000 cash-only bond and did not have an attorney listed as representing him.

Thompson is a member of the National Rifle Association and supporter of concealed-carry laws, and a warning on the bank's front door reads: "Management recognizes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as an unalienable right of all citizens."

Thompson said he didn't have time during the robbery to get scared.

"I was excited," he said. "Your adrenaline pumps. He robbed a bank, he menaced my employees, and I don't allow that."

Thompson has been overwhelmed with calls supporting his actions. Co-workers thanked him. Even the local priest stopped by the bank to tell Thompson he did a good job.

Jerry Sage, executive director of the Missouri Independent Banking Association, said there was no protocol for bankers regarding the use of firearms. Thompson is a past president of the association.

"We stress in our safety training that safety is the most important thing. He took it outside the bank so no one was in jeopardy. If he pulls a gun and he has a permit, that would certainly be his call," Sage said. "It was a gutsy call."

Troy Police Chief Jeff Taylor didn't second-guess Thompson's actions but said he typically advises that people avoid confronting suspected criminals.

"In general, I would suggest they lock that door, get a good description of the robber and call police immediately," Taylor said.

According to Thompson, Lee entered the bank shortly before its 3 p.m. closing time wearing a mask of Chucky from the "Child's Play" horror movies. After ignoring two bank workers' requests to remove the mask, he responded to a teller's demand, "No, you gotta give me all your money," and then put his hand in his coat pocket to indicate he had a gun.

Thompson told the paper that his receptionist buzzed him in his office to warn of the emergency, and he looked out and saw what was happening in the lobby. He followed the man outside, watched him get into a pickup truck parked in a handicapped spot and then pulled his gun and pointed it at the man.

"Sir, get out of the truck," Thompson said. "You're not going anywhere."

Thompson said that when the man put his hand in his coat pocket, as if he had a weapon, he said, "You don't want to go there. This will end badly."

After getting backup from a colleague, Thompson said he pulled the man from the truck and waited for police. When officers pulled off the mask and opened the man's wallet, Thompson said he saw a debit card from Peoples Bank and realized that the man was a customer. Lee had been banking there since April, Thompson said.

Police say Lee told them he'd gone to the bank only to trick or treat.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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