Cop Moonlights At Bank, Robs It, Gets Recognized
|Photo courtesy Conroe PD|
Earlier today, the FBI and Conroe Police Department announced that 20-plus year Conroe PD veteran Sgt. Michael Tindall has been charged in federal court with bank robbery for allegedly stealing $28,672 from the bank where he worked as a security guard in his off time.
Tindall "has been a friend and part of the Conroe Police Department family and I've enjoyed my relationship with him," Conroe police Chief Charlie Ray said today during a press conference. "We've had no reason to think bad things about him and it's just sad."
According to court documents, Tindall entered the 1st Bank of Conroe on August 11, 2008 wearing gloves, a white motorcycle helmet and aviator sunglasses, vaulted over the teller's counter and demanded money located in the tellers' bottom drawer. Apparently, this branch only kept bait money in its top drawers, a practice that is not industry-wide. Once the robber had the money, he jumped back over the counter and went outside, where he drove off in a silver Chevy Malibu. The FBI says no one saw the robber use a weapon.
The very next day, a bank official contacted the FBI, which investigates all bank robberies, saying that after watching the security tape, he believed the robber was a Conroe police officer who sometimes worked security at the bank. The bank official said the robber both looked like Tindall and that he seemed to know the bank's layout and in which drawer the money was kept. A teller told the FBI that the robber's voice sounded like Tindall.
For months, the investigation continued. Then in late November 2008, Chief Charlie Ray contacted the FBI to say that after watching the security tape, he too believed the robber was Tindall based on the robber's hand gestures and the way he walked. Additionally, another member of law enforcement said he thought the helmet the robber wore looked the same as the one Tindall had worn while go-karting at a children's festival event years earlier.
The indictment, which was unsealed today, caps off a seven-month long investigation. Authorities would not comment on what the motive may have been but Ray did say that Tindall will be, at least for now, suspended without pay. Tindall is expected to appear in federal court for his initial appearance on Wednesday.
"This has been a difficult thing to do," said Ray. "This is not just a betrayal of the public's trust but also of the hard working, honest officers in our office."