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Man pleads guilty to bank robberies

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A Fulton man has pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing several banks, including the Sedalia location of Excel Bank.


John David Farnell, 61, is currently serving a federal prison sentence in a separate bank robbery case that was prosecuted in the Eastern District of Missouri.


According to reports, Farnell pleaded guilty to stealing $11,540 from Excel Bank in August 2009. Farnell entered the bank carrying a green gym bag and immediately approached a teller. He set the bag on the counter, retrieved a black handgun that had a long barrel and wooden grip, pointed it at the teller and instructed her not to make a sound. He told the teller to give him twenties, fifties and hundreds. The teller pulled the bills out of her drawer and put them on the counter. Farnell instructed the teller not to make a sound or move again, and then walked down to another window.


Farnell then approached a second teller counter. He again placed the bag on the counter, displayed the gun, and stated, “I want all your tens, twenties, fifties, hundreds.” The second teller gave him all the loose bills, and Farnell asked, “Is that all?”


The second teller responded, “No, I’m sorry” and gave him the bundled tens and the twenties. Farnell exited the bank through the front doors, got into a white minivan and left.


On April 29, 2010, the First Community National Bank in Cuba, Mo. was robbed. At approximately 11 a.m., a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper stopped Farnell, who was traveling in a van that matched the description of the suspect vehicle involved in the bank robbery. During a search of the van, a Ruger .357 magnum revolver was recovered, as well as U.S. currency.


Farnell admitted to law enforcement officers that he committed the robberies in Cuba and Sedalia, as well as robbing BTC Bank in Chillicothe in February 2010. Farnell stated that he committed the robberies because of financial reasons and admitted that he used the .357 magnum revolver recovered from his van during all of the robberies.


In a separate case, Farnell was sentenced in the Eastern District of Missouri last March to 13 years and six months in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to robbing First Community National Bank in Cuba, Commerce Bank in Moberly and Town & Country Bank in Rolla. He also pleaded guilty in that case to one count of possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.


Under federal statutes, Farnell is subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn and was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Sedalia, Chillicothe, El Dorado Springs, Rolla and Cuba  police departments.


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