Suspect flees after robbing Boone County National Bank on Walnut

Monday, April 23, 2012 | 12:31 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Boone County National Bank at 203 E. Walnut St. reopened late Monday morning after a robbery, and the suspect remained at large.

Police were called at 9:35 a.m., and officers were nearby and able to respond soon after, Columbia Police Officer Sean Dutton said.

At about 11 a.m., the premises were calm, with a sign on the building’s front entrance that read, “Temporary emergency closing; bank will be open soon.” Two police vehicles were on the scene, and a third arrived a little later.

Andrea Waner, the bank’s public relations coordinator, said everyone inside the bank was safe and the staff was well-trained and did everything they were supposed to do.

Police Officer Mark Fitzgerald said no weapon was displayed during the robbery. He described the suspect as a man, with facial hair, between 30 and 40 years old, and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue or black pants.

A second alarm that sounded at the bank while officers were still near the scene was a false alarm, Dutton said.

The bank was still closed when the officers left about 11:15 a.m.

The officers also had a police dog on the scene, which they try to do when they have a direction of travel, Fitzgerald said.

Officers said the police would make a statement later in the day.

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Ed Lane April 23, 2012 | 12:51 p.m.

Description missing race of the suspect. Due to media error or on purpose?????? If they were able to see facial hair then they could provide the race of the suspect.

(Report Comment)
Shaina Cavazos April 23, 2012 | 2:49 p.m.

Mr. Lane,

I was the editor on this story. The Missourian’s policy about disclosing the race of an at-large suspect is as follows:

“Before we publish the race or ethnicity of a suspect or perpetrator, we will make sure the description includes at least three other identifying characteristics, such as weight, height, age, hair color and length, scars and tattoos.”

I decided the description we received from the police did not meet those requirements. Clothing can be easily changed, and therefore is not considered an identifier according to our policy.

Thank you for your question.

-Shaina Cavazos
Assistant City Editor
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 23, 2012 | 3:10 p.m.

Wow, good thing you've followed your completely inappropriate guidelines, as they're obviously far more important than helping to identify a potential threat to public safety.

Now, please strike out the "male" descriptor as this story reeks of sexism. Or since it's a male, should I say "reverse" sexism?

(Report Comment)
Ed Lane April 23, 2012 | 3:55 p.m.

Great reply Richard!!!!!

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 23, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

1) sex
2) hair
3) age

race ?

I am actually with you if we aren't sure. We don't need another white hispanic saga...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 23, 2012 | 5:05 p.m.

I'm just stunned by this policy.

The Missourian is supposed to be a "news" organization. That means you report "news". ANY characteristic of the perpetrator is "news". It's important "news" to us, the public. You do your public and your hometown a disservice with this policy. The police report is a PUBLIC document. You folks make it your business to read them frequently.

Do you often cherry-pick police public documents? How in the world do you justify a difference in reporting the sex of a perpetrator versus his/her race? Have you lost your collective minds?


The only news here is that I've lost a bit more faith in what you folks are SUPPOSED to be doing.

(Report Comment)
Tom Warhover April 24, 2012 | 4:39 p.m.

I fear the comparison with gender is a bit of a red herring. They are separate things, and to suggest a hypocrisy in having a policy about racial identification vs. gender is to ignore our past and present.

In other words, I'm still comfortable with the policy.

Mr. Mentor's list of identifiers makes me second guess our execution of the policy. It's reasonable to assume that facial hair, age and sex are three identifiers that aren't shed as easily as taking off a hoodie. (The facial hair was the debatable characteristic, as it's easy to shave it off. Then again, it's easy to change hair color, too.)

Tom Warhover
executive editor

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 24, 2012 | 5:48 p.m.

Your policy doesn't make any sense as the police reported the perps race.
Why are you withholding police reported info?
Uber-political correctness?
Self censorship?
Looking to please Rose Nolen?
I'm very disappointed.

(Report Comment)

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