Bank Killing Reminiscent of Deadly 1965 Heist

Published September 27, 2002

| Associated Press

The killing of five people during a bank robbery Thursday in Norfolk made it the deadliest on record in Nebraska.

Even though such cases garner banner headlines, people seldom are injured or killed during bank robberies, the FBI said.

In fact, Thursday's robbery is believed to be the first involving a death in Nebraska since 1965. That was when Duane Earl Pope walked into the Farmers State Bank in Big Springs and shot three employees to death, wounded another and left with $1,598.

In 2000, the last year that statistics were available, there were 7,546 bank robberies, burglaries and larcenies in the United States. Those resulted in just 166 injuries and 23 deaths, according to FBI data.

Of the deaths, one was a customer, one was an employee, one was a guard, 19 were perpetrators. The other death was not identified.

In the Norfolk robbery Thursday, four were employees and one was a customer.

Nebraska had only 44 bank robberies and burglaries in 2000. In one of those, an off-duty Omaha police officer working security at a bank was shot and wounded.

Another notorious Nebraska robbery occurred in 1934, when several members of the infamous "Barker-Karpis Gang" robbed the First National Bank of Fairbury. They briefly took two women hostage and wounded a bank employee. A deputy sheriff and a gun salesman who tried to intervene also were shot and wounded. One of the robbers was killed.

Perhaps the most infamous bank robbery to receive national attention in recent years occurred in 1997 in North Hollywood, Calif., when two heavily armed robbers shot 11 police officers and six civilians while trying to escape.

One of the robbers, Larry Eugene Phillips, died when he shot himself under the chin as a police bullet struck his spine.

The other, Emil Matasareanu, was wounded 29 times and bled to death as he lay handcuffed on a street.

In 1975, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst and four other members of the Symbionese Liberation Army radical group were involved in a bank robbery in Carmichael, Calif., in which a woman customer was shot and killed.

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