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Missouri House approves expanding bank robbery law

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A court case claiming that a person who robbed a bank but did not make an explicit threat should be charged with a lesser crime is getting notice in the Missouri Legislature.

The Missouri House passed a bill Thursday that would make theft from a financial institution a class B felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison in all cases. The measure passed 133-20.

Bill sponsor Rep. Sandy Crawford, a Republican and former banker, says bank employees are traumatized even if they aren’t threatened during a robbery.

The lawyer for a man who robbed a bank in New Bloomfield told the Missouri Supreme Court in February her client should be charged with stealing, which carries a lighter sentence, because the current robbery law requires a threat of force.