Retired Officer IDs Robbery Suspect

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St. Louis, M.O.—A man wanted in connection with 14 armed robberies was arrested at a motel in Kingdom City, Missouri, about 100 miles west of St. Louis.

While at a motel in Kingdom City, a retired Missouri state trooper recognized Chad E. Shaffner from “wanted” billboards which had appeared all over the region. Sam Lakey told police that he didn’t recognize Shaffner at first, but that he thought something was suspicious when Shaffner avoided making eye contact with him. He then looked online at the America’s Most Wanted website and made the identification, noting that the license plates on a car in the parking lot were the same as those listed on the site.

Later, with his family, he watched from across the street as authorities made the arrest.

“I felt my goosebumps raising,” he told reporters.

Shaffner is wanted for at least 10 bank robberies from Tennessee to Illinois. Authorities believe Shaffner went on a spree that took him to banks in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Shaffner used a gun in all of the robberies, though no one was hurt. “This guy has made no effort to hide the gun,” FBI agent Kevin Keithley told reporters last month. “He has threatened the use of it in every bank robbery he has committed. He has put the gun in the faces of the tellers, threatened to use the gun against them. So we want to get this guy in custody before he harms anyone.”

Shaffner was released from an Indiana prison last year after serving time for an armed robbery conviction. His record also includes other charges in Indiana, including burglary, resisting law enforcement, and purchase of a handgun without a license.

Police were able to put up billboards with Shaffner’s photo on August 24, after two bank robberies in Morristown and Jefferson City, Tennessee, on August 18. A man was able to identify Shaffner and place him in Morristown on the 18th after seeing the billboards.

A woman in Morristown was also interviewed twice by FBI agents. During the first interview, which occurred outside her apartment, she denied having known Shaffner. The next day, however, she spoke to agents again, this time telling them that Shaffner had been inside her apartment when she was interviewed. He had threatened to kill her children, who were in the apartment with him, if she told police he was there.

 

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