CHESTERFIELD, MO. (KPLR) – A Chesterfield couple is looking more and more like a modern day “Bonnie and Clyde” as they are now facing charges in five different bank robberies dating back to October. But police say their motive appears to have been a simple one; just to pay the bills.
Darren Everett, 42, and Mackenzie Leonard, 26 of Chesterfield were both arrested Friday by Town and Country Police.
Imagine coming home from dinner and finding your neighborhood crawling with police, then being told your neighbors are bank robbers. That was Friday night for Angie Van Kirk.
“That was quite a shocker, she said. “It was kind of like, what? Are you kidding me?”
She says the couple and their three children moved in next door around Christmas time. At that point, police now believe they had already robbed three banks. They would allegedly target two more. It’s shocking to the lady next door.
“A typical family,” Van Kirk said. “They just didn’t look like…nothing wrong, nothing. I would have never guessed in a million years. And there were some neighbors you would have guessed, but they’re not one of them.”
What was different was their ability to alter appearances and avoid detection. With the exception of the first hold up, the female, Leonard, was the one who actually went to the teller with a note. In each case she had a different appearance, wearing wigs, and thick make up. Prior to the robberies, police say Everett was casing the target. In the Town and Country case, that would prove to be the beginning of the end.
“That really led to the identification of these two suspects,” Town and Country Police Captain Gary Hoelzer said.
Detectives investigating the robbery of the First Bank in Town and Country on January 30 found video of Everett minutes before the robbery. They gave the picture to the media, and alerted police in Columbia, Illinois after another robbery a few days later.
Columbia detectives went through three days worth of surveillance video, but, sure enough, found Everett. They also found a shot of his car, and a license plate number.
Police in Town and Country took that information, and staked out the couple’s apartment. The pair was pulled over and arrested nearby.
As to motive, police say this is not a case where a drug or gambling habit is being fed.
“This one we can’t find that,” Hoelzer said. “We can’t locate it. It may exist but we don’t see it.”
What they do see is a couple who claims they were just trying to make ends meet.
“We’re not exactly sure but we do know they needed cash to pay bills. That seemed to be the primary motivation to pay bills,” Hoelzer said. “They have three children, so they’re supporting them and paying rent and all the associated bills and that seemed to be the primary motive.”