BMC bank nearly robbed

An attempted robbery occurred at the US Bank in the Busch Memorial Center Monday afternoon. No money was stolen, and the suspect was caught by the Department of Public Safety.

Vernon McCrary, of the 5300 block of Arlington in North St. Louis, walked into the bank, demanding that the teller give him some money. He told the teller to give him all the $50s and $100s. When the teller said that she didn’t understand, he told her it was a robbery, said Jack Titone, director of DPS. The suspect was not armed nor did he threaten the tellers.

When the suspect noticed one of the tellers reaching to pull the security alarm, he walked out of the BMC and headed north on Grand Boulevard. A DPS sergeant who had been notified of the situation saw the suspect near Ritter Hall and took him into custody.

The 53-year-old African-American was positively identified by the tellers as well as the front desk workers on duty in the BMC.

DPS then notified the St. Louis City Police Department who in turn contacted the FBI. McCrary had previously spent 20 years in prison for a string of robberies in the Detroit area.

McCrary, who is not involved with the University, has been charged with attempted bank robbery and a warrant has been issued by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. He could also be charged on a federal offense and could face up to another 20 years in prison if convicted due to his prior offense, Titone said.

“When you have a bank that is open to the public, it’s really hard to prevent something like this from happening,” Titone said.

The suspect was seen in the BMC earlier in the day by DPS, who proceeded to escort him out of the building and warn him about trespassing when he offered no good explanation for why he was there.

Jackie Hayes, who was working at the front desk of the BMC at the time of the attempted robbery, witnessed the event.

Hayes said that at about 2:30 p.m. she noticed a man sitting outside the building. About a half and hour after that he came in and asked her to call a cab for him. Ten minutes later he came back inside, said “thank you” and walked over to the bank.

“We didn’t even know anything was wrong,” Hayes said, noting that the tellers never pulled the alarm and the man just walked out of the building. “He was very polite,” she said.

A little later DPS and the St. Louis Police Department came in and asked her and the other desk worker, Jill Edwards, to come outside and identify the suspect who they had detained. Both Hayes and Edwards may have to be subpoenaed.

“I was so shocked because I didn’t think it could be the same guy we talked to,” Hayes said.

“It makes you think twice about having a bank on campus. I definitely think it raises some security issues.”