BRADENTON — “Want money now!! Give me all the big bills. Gun Loaded,” read a note a suspected woman robber passed to a bank teller Wednesday morning, according to Bradenton Police arrest reports.
Charlie Hampton, 67, and Katherine L. Handy, 38, allegedly walked into the Gateway Bank, 2100 Manatee Ave. W., at 10 a.m. after they were buzzed in by employees through the bank’s magnetically locked doors.
“It looked to us like father-daughter. It was just a normal couple of people walking in,” said Cindy Denison, group vice president for Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida.
Handy allegedly then proceeded to walk up to a teller and slide a note implying she had a gun. She never showed the teller a weapon though, according to reports.
The note continued to read, “I have a gun and they have some guns too. It’s six of us with guns to shoot anything.”
The note fell to the ground, and Hampton bent down to pick up the note, witnesses said.
The teller complied and gave her cash. Hampton and Handy began walking towards the door.
“You just never know what motivates people. The gentleman got cold feet at the very end ... The gentleman followed her, and then he spun around and came back,” Denison said. “I think he didn’t want to be involved after he realized the totality of it. I think he did the right thing.”
According to an arrest report, Hampton told detectives he was with his girlfriend and had no idea she was robbing the bank. Tellers told police Hampton stayed near Handy during the robbery.
As Handy left in a black Nissan Altima, he walked back over to tellers and said, “She is crazy and I’m not going with her. I’m 69 years old.”
Police arrested Hampton at the bank and located Handy at about 8 p.m. in a residence at Oakmeade Apartments in the 1800 block of 13th Avenue East.
There have been approximately 20 bank robberies this year in Manatee County, five of which occurred in the city of Bradenton, according to local law enforcement agencies. The city’s cases have all closed with arrests.
The same Gateway Bank location was nearly robbed on June 2 when Charles T. Kincaid, 66, of Sebring, walked up to the bank’s doors wearing latex gloves, a bandana covering his face.
Employees refused to open the doors for him, and Bradenton Police officers later located him about 14 blocks away, where he was shot and arrested.
Since that incident, Denison said the bank installed outside cameras to capture vehicle descriptions.
“We always ask ourselves what we can do better,” she said. “Safety is the highest level of importance to us.”
The bank’s magnetic doors are controlled by employees via a remote. But sometimes not all bank robbers can be spotted.
“There’s no profile for a bank robber anymore. You could assume when they are coming up they are clients. You just don’t know,” Denison said.
Female bank robbers are less common than men, according to FBI statistics.
According to FBI data from April to June, there were 1,124 bank robberies across the country in which 65 heists took place in Florida.
Close to 100 women were bank robbers in those heists nationwide compared to about 1,350 men who were robbers.
“It was rare to have two people come in for a bank robbery from our experience,” Dension said.
Handy and Hampton will go before a judge this morning to have a bond set.
Beth Burger, criminal justice reporter, can be reached at 708-7919.