Bank robber who used Army uniform disguise pleads guilty
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Saturday, January 3, 2009 8:52 pm
Bank of Crocker surveillance photos were widely published in area media and helped identify Christopher Dwyer as the robber, federal prosecutors say.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Jan. 3, 2008) — A man who St. Robert police said used an Army physical fitness uniform and sunglasses as a disguise to rob the St. Robert branch of the Bank of Crocker pleaded guilty Dec. 31 in federal court to stealing $4,250 from that bank.
The case received widespread attention following the robbery due to national Associated Press coverage of the unusual nature of the disguise.
Christopher Michael Dwyer, 34, previously of Dixon but now a Branson West resident, was arrested by the Stone County Sheriff’s Department near Branson less than a day after the Sept. 22 robbery on two state charges, a Class A felony charge of first-degree robbery stemming from the Bank of Crocker incident and a Class B felony charge of second-degree robbery accusing him of stealing $125 from the St. Robert Holiday Inn on Sept. 15. Those state charges are no longer listed as pending against him, according to the Case Net online court reporting system.
The bank robbery charge was eventually transferred to federal court, and according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, Dwyer faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution.
The United States Probation Office is currently conducting a presentence investigation and a sentencing hearing won’t be scheduled until that process is complete, according to the press release.
The media were asked to assist in the investigation and several Springfield-area television stations as well as Pulaski County newspapers published surveillance photographs of Dwyer in his Army PT uniform, which consists of a gray sweatshirt, black shorts and jogging shoes.
However, Dwyer wasn’t in the military at the time of the incident. Fort Leonard Wood spokesman Mike Alley said Dwyer had been honorably discharged from the Army five years earlier; his last unit was Fort Leonard Wood’s 84th Chemical Battalion.
According to court documents, Dwyer told bank tellers that he wanted to speak with a manager of the bank. After being taken to the manager’s office, Dwyer told the manager, “This is a robbery and I am not joking,” said he spoke to the manager privately “so not to scare your girls downstairs” and said he needed “$4,250 now and if I do not get this money my family will die.” The U.S. Attorney’s office added additional details, reporting that bank officials obtained $4,000 from the bank’s vault and $250 from a teller’s drawer and gave the money to Dwyer, who then fled the area on foot.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said additional agencies involved in the investigation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Branson West Police Department.