(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- An early morning bank robbery led to a wild chain of events this morning which included Highway 61 being shutdown for a short time.
According to initial reports, at just before 9:30 a.m. a black male robbed First Security State Bank at 1150 S. Main. The suspect passed a note instructing a teller to give him the money because he had a bomb, and left with what was initially reported as $4,000 in $100 bills. As the suspect fled southwest from the scene he was confronted by Sikeston Department of Public Safety officers in the south parking lot of Arby's.
As officers were handcuffing the suspect they found what appeared to be an explosive device strapped to his stomach. "We didn't know if it was a real bomb or not," said DPS Captain Mark Crocker.
As the suspect lay motionless on the parking lot, officers placed a yellow bomb blanket on top of him. As a precaution, Arby's was evacuated and traffic was diverted from Highway 61 and the FBI and ATF was dispatched.
At 10:30 a.m. ATF officials placed a blue, inflatable shelter over the suspect and removed the device.
"They felt confident enough to remove the thing," Crocker said. "They took (the device) off him and left it under the tent and took pictures for the bomb squad to give them an idea of what they were working with."
Approximately 10 minutes later the suspect was escorted to a patrol car and taken to DPS headquarters where FBI will take custody.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol bomb squad later flew in from Jefferson City to investigate the device.
Also on the scene to aid DPS was the Scott County Sheriff's Department, New Madrid County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Dexter Fire Department.
No other information was available at presstime.