Bizarre bank robbery ends in bike chase

Monday, August 29, 2005

Grabbed cash from teller's drawer

A Callender man attempted a bold daylight armed robbery at Citizens First National Bank in downtown Storm Lake Friday afternoon - using a bike as a getaway vehicle and a fake ponytail as a disguise.

James Magoon, 55, didn't get far. Officers and a police dog gave chase as Magoon darted through traffic on the streets, into alleys and across yards. Officers tackled him at the intersection of Hudson and 2nd Street. Magoon put up no further fight and was cuffed. The officers recovered the money stolen from the bank as well as a loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Police found on Magoon a cap with a fake ponytail attached, a second set of clothing to cover what he was wearing, and other items they believe he had carried in hopes of disguising himself.

Bank officials called for help immediately after Magoon left the bank's main office, reporting that a man had waved a gun at bank workers, demanded money, then fled eastbound on a bike. He was wearing the cap with the attached ponytail and was carrying a backpack.

A responding officer spotted Magoon a few blocks away, near the intersection of Seneca and East 4th. When he ordered the man to stop, Magoon fled east on his bike, and the officer, who had a police dog in the car at the time, released the dog to give chase. The suspect began dodging in and out of traffic on East 4th Street, and the dog had to be recalled.

Additional officers arriving on the scene joined the chase, through alleys and yards, and eventually tackled Magoon.

Bank officials said that there were no other customers in the bank at the time Magoon entered.

The robber walked behind the tellers' work station and pointed the handgun in the direction of the tellers, saying, "This is a hold-up." Magoon allegedly reached into a teller's drawer and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing from the building. On his way, he tried to shed some of the outer layer of clothing he had worn as a disguise.

Magoon was taken to Buena Vista Regional Medical Center to be treated for unspecified injuries he suffered in the chase. He was later released and taken to Buena Vista County Jail and charged with Robbery 1st Degree, Intimidation With a Dangerous Weapon, Going Armed With Intent, and two counts of Interference With Official Acts - all felonies. He was also charged with Carrying a Loaded Firearm, an aggravated misdemeanor. He was booked into County Jail on $81,250 cash bond.

No bank employees or police officers were injured in the robbery or the escape attempt.

Storm Lake Police Capt. Todd Erskine said in a statement Friday that the quick action of the bank employees helped officers to make a quick arrest.

Storm Lake Police were assisted by Buena Vista County Sheriff's officers and the Alta Police Department.

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