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Archive for Tuesday, March 16, 1999

SECOND

March 16, 1999

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A woman convicted three times for bank robbery hit the US Bank on Monday morning, walking out with about $500. She was convicted of robbing the same bank in 1992.

Carol A. Scroggins, a 56-year-old homeless woman with a penchant for bank robbery, struck again Monday morning when she walked into the US Bank at Ninth and Vermont, demanded cash and walked out, authorities said.

Her freedom -- and her grasp on the approximately $500 she's accused of stealing -- didn't last long.

Lawrence Police Department officers arrested Scroggins just a few feet from the bank's front door after employees sounded an alarm at 9:57 a.m.

As they sipped their morning coffee and munched on cinnamon rolls and eggs, customers at Wheatfields Bakery across the street from the bank watched police subdue Scroggins.

The arrest added some excitement to the morning meal for Babette Crowder and her daughter, Ashley, who said it was the first time they'd ever seen a bank robbery.

But the experience wasn't new to Scroggins, who underwent a psychiatric examination in 1992 after she robbed the same bank at 901 Vt.

Scroggins -- convicted three times for bank robbery, according to the U.S. attorney's office -- hit the same bank, then called Columbia Savings, on Aug. 6, 1992. The name of the bank has changed since then -- a couple of times, actually -- and this time, Scroggins didn't bring a toy pistol with her.

"She went into the bank with her hand in her jacket pocket, waited for the customers to leave and demanded cash from one of the tellers," Sgt. George Wheeler said Monday afternoon, after piecing together information from investigators and witnesses.

Scroggins -- released Jan. 26 after serving 30 months for the Jan. 10, 1996, holdup of Security Bank in Kansas City, Kan. -- wasn't armed, but the teller complied, giving the woman "about $500," Wheeler said. Police and bank officials declined to say exactly how much money they recovered from the woman.

After allegedly taking the money, Scroggins walked out the front door and took only a few steps under sunny skies before police handcuffed her.

"She got maybe to the ATM before they caught her," Babette Crowder said. "She didn't get far at all."

"People were still going through the drive-through," 14-year-old Ashley added.

Drawing their weapons when they arrived at the scene, police surrounded the bank, asking six employees inside to come out with their hands over their heads.

Lt. Kevin Harmon said police responded within a minute. Although it appeared they had their suspect, police followed standard precautions because "you can't take anything for granted," Harmon said.

The bank reopened about 11:30 a.m.

US Bank vice president Steve Allen said the employees followed the bank's "normal bank robbery procedures to the letter."

In the 1992 robbery at the same location, Lawrence police arrested Scroggins less than an hour later, finding her at the Low Rider Mexican Cafe on Massachusetts, where she had gone to order tacos and beers.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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