Stacey Hargraves was pulling in $300 per week from his job in the sanitation department at Mary Kay, but it never seemed to stretch far enough to support his wife, children and his propensity to gamble and go to sporting events.
And so, according to the FBI, he walked into the Comerica Bank on Illinois Avenue in Oak Cliff on November 26, handed the teller a note, and walked out with $1,000. It was so easy that two days later he tried it again, this time going to the Bank of Texas a couple of miles away on 12th Street.
He upped the ante this time, demanding $5,000 via the note he scribbled on the back of an envelope. "I have shot someone before and I will shoot you, $100s and $50s," it said. There was more, but the teller didn't bother to read it, instead stuffing the money into the envelope as he stood there nervously telling her to hurry up.
Then, he began to push his luck. On January 16, he went back to the Bank of Texas and robbed it again, this time making off with $4,000. And then, on February 6, he went to the Citibank on Fort Worth Avenue where an employee, recognizing him from a robbery bulletin issued in the wake of his Bank of Texas heist, greeted him at the door.
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Hargraves became nervous and drove away in his blue Dodge Durango while the employee called police, who pulled him over a while later. As they searched his car, they found a robbery note, a dark-blue hoody and safety glasses, all of which had been described by tellers.
At first, Hargraves claimed he had been at Citibank to make a withdrawal from the ATM, at which point officers reminded him that he had walked past the ATM on the way into the bank. Then, they showed him surveillance photos showing him robbing the other banks, and he confessed.
Hargraves laid out his financial woes and described how he had committed the robberies, which basically included writing a threatening note. He never used the same note twice -- clearly, that would be foolish -- but he does use roughly the same language each time. According to an affidavit by an FBI officer, he "takes responsibility for the robberies."
The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against Hargraves on Thursday, charging him with bank robbery by force or violence. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each instance.