PLEASANT HILL, Mo. – Knitting, playing Scrabble, baking cookies. These are some of the stereotypical activities you might think of when you think of a woman enjoying her 70s.
Well, what about robbing a bank?
That’s what a 78-year-old woman is accused of doing Wednesday in Pleasant Hill – hitting the Goppert Financial Bank on North Highway 7.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time she has been accused of this sort of behavior.
Three years ago, at age of 75, police arrested the same woman, Bonnie Gooch, in Lee’s Summit for a different bank robbery.
Gooch was charged with stealing and was later convicted. Her sentence was suspended and she was ordered to have supervised probation, which expired in November 2021.
Now her name’s once again the focus of authorities.
The arrest happened only a few hundred yards from the bank. Justin Lewis is the manager at Guido’s Pizza Place. The scene was just outside the restaurant.
“And I saw two police cars pull up to the bank,” Lewis said.
“I was driving into work and the girl was getting out. And I was like, ‘What the heck? An old lady?'” Lewis said.
“Obviously it was a tense situation,” Pleasant Hill Police Chief Thomas Wright said. “But when the hands of an elderly woman come out of the car and that is who is driving the suspect vehicle, it’s a little shocking.”
Wright said they’re planning to look at the totality of the circumstances – seeing if the 78-year-old needs services – as this situation moves through the justice system.
However, court documents show that when 75-year-old Gooch hit the Bank of the West in Lee’s Summit her son called authorities and “…stated that his mother was ‘off her rocker’ and left the house, angry, saying she was going to rob a bank.”
Police tell FOX 4 that a similar strategy was used in Wednesday’s bank robbery – handing a note to employees.
“Well she’s very wilily,” Wright said.
“She did have an N95 type mask on. Sunglasses and plastic gloves,” Wright said.
It just so happens Maggie Kornis stopped by the scene of the arrest – bringing her dog to a nearby animal clinic. She is 89 years old but can’t relate to a life of “senior crime.”
“Well maybe she was desperate. You know sometimes we don’t save enough money,” Kornis said.
“She doesn’t seem to be very good at it,” FOX 4’s Jacob Kittilstad said.
“No,” Kornis said, laughing.
“I mean, it doesn’t seem or sound believable,” Lewis said at Guido’s.
“My first reaction was like, ‘Of course in Pleasant Hill,'” he said.
“I wouldn’t have the energy to do it myself,” Kornis said. “You can’t run very fast at 78, I’ll tell you.”
Another notable piece of information spelled out in the 2020 criminal complaint is this: Gooch was convicted of bank robbery in California in 1977. This latest accusation comes 46 years after that first charge.