ST. CHARLES, MO – A suspected bank robber who jumped into the Missouri River from the Blanchett Bridge Monday evening is in custody. He has been identified a Austin Denson, 44, of Wentzville.
The Pattonville Fire Protection District along with several other agencies launched a rescue effort to find the man in the river. FOX 2's cameras were rolling when first responders were bringing the 44-year-old man in on a boat at the Olive Street Boat Ramp in St. Charles.
The man who was wearing a life vest while in the rescue boat walked slowly over to a stretcher before he was taken away in an ambulance. Authorities said it all started around 10 am when he held up the Gateway Metro Federal Credit Union around in St. Peter's while wearing a disguise of a fake beard.
Shortly after the hold up, authorities said that a St. Charles County business called police with valuable information leading to the suspect. The chase started when police went to the man's Wentzville home and saw him getting into his car before he took off. It ended when he jumped from the Blanchette Bridge after parking his car on the eastbound lanes and diving into the Missouri River.
"We were very lucky that the traffic was pretty light today so we didn't run into any issues with any other drivers being at risk," said Melissa Doss with the St. Peters Police Department.
"The unusual part is that he jumped into the river instead of giving up or us apprehending him in another way and then surviving that as well."
Some witnesses said they saw the man in the water, adding that it didn't seem as if he wanted any help.
"To see him floating in that river only his head up above the water from all way the Blanchett Bridge and to see him resist the help that he could've gotten that just got me right there," said Lou Ann Dunn, who was at the boat ramp with her young daughter.
Charges will be sent to the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.