Investigators suspect robbery was inside job

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 14, 2002


LAPLACE – One man remained at large Friday while a man and woman are in jail, and a third man is still being sought, all in connection with Tuesday’s armed robbery of the First National Bank USA on Belle Terre Boulevard in LaPlace.

The woman, a drive-up cashier at the bank, is accused of helping plan the daring daylight robbery.

It began at 3:55 p.m., little more than a half-hour until the bank’s lobby was scheduled to close, when two man rolled through the drive-up window on a stolen canary-yellow motorcycle, parked it at the front door, strolled inside and robbed it at gunpoint before heading into LaPlace.

No one was hurt in the incident. There were five employees inside and no customers.

One suspect, Michael Jeffrey Addison, was almost immediately captured as he tried to make his way to his home in the Cambridge Subdivision. The other, believed to be a New Orleans man but still unidentified, apparently made his escape.

Capt. Michael Tregre of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office said Addison, 19, of 2533 English Colony Drive, was the motorcycle driver in the robbery.

Addison is charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, flight from an officer and possession of stolen property, and his bond is set at $250,000 by 40th Judicial District Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.

Addison has a prior criminal history, with a burglary arrest in St. John the Baptist Parish and a marijuana possession arrest in New Orleans, both in 2001.

Tregre said the pair turned into the parking lot of the bank, housed in a trailer, circled across the back and through the drive-up window before parking on the sidewalk near the front door. He said an image of the pair was captured on the security camera of the drive-up window.

They dismounted the Kawasaki motorcycle, entered the bank with drawn handguns, and robbed the bank before escaping on the motorcycle.

According to Addison, the plot included bank cashier Kristi Ann Hoover, 19, of 376 Historic West St. in Garyville; and Wilson Jackson III, 19, of 2433 Frenchman St. in New Orleans. Hoover, said Addison, assisted in the planning by telling the suspects the best time to rob the bank and how to avoid taking money with a dye-pack.

She was arrested Wednesday at 9 p.m. during a traffic stop in LaPlace and charged with being a principal to armed robbery. Sheriff Wayne L. Jones said Hoover has confessed to her involvement. Hoover had no prior criminal history, and her bond was set at $100,000 by Becnel.

The robbers were set to rendezvous with a car parked near the water treatment plant, not far from Woodland Drive and U.S. Highway 51. That car was reportedly driven by Jackson, according to the sheriff.

Jackson, alerted by the police activity, made his own escape and was being sought as of press time on Friday. Jackson is reported armed and “extremely dangerous,” according to Jones.

Jackson has a prior criminal history, including an arrest in Franklinton for a drive-by shooting and aggravated criminal damage to property.

A silent alarm tripped by an employee alerted the sheriff’s office, and an estimated 30 deputies poured into the area north of Airline Highway, in search of the pair, canvassing the neighborhoods all the way to U.S. Highway 51.

Deputies, already alerted by the silent alarm, spotted the motorcycle on St. Andrew’s Boulevard, headed east and chased it to a wooded area near Woodland Drive, where the motorcycle was abandoned and the pair took off on foot, apparently splitting up along the way.

Addison was captured soon after, but the other suspect apparently made off with some of the robbery loot. Addison, a handgun believed used by him and some of the robbery loot was recovered near Yorktown Drive.

By Wednesday, however, following close questioning of the suspect which delayed his booking until nearly midnight Tuesday, detectives were in New Orleans, searching for the remaining suspect.

Still more arrests are possible, said Maj. Robert Hay, who is heading the investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or the sheriff’s office at 985-652-2773.

Detectives also searched Addison’s residence for clues and evidence but came away empty-handed.

Still-shaken bank employees had no comment after the robbery, as manager C.J. Clements stated, “I’m not trying to be evasive, but I’m all talked out with detectives,” before referring inquiries to corporate headquarters.

No one at the corporate headquarters had a response to the incident.

“It was just a potentially hot, dangerous scene,” Tregre said, “what with kids getting off school buses. We had to turn one bus around.”