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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Robber, 91, admits third bank job
JL Hunter
"Red" Rountree (picture courtesy of Lubbock Avalanche Journal)
A 91-year-old man has admitted stealing $1,999 from a bank in Texas, his third robbery in five years.

JL Hunter "Red" Rountree faces a maximum 20-year sentence if convicted of robbing the Texan bank on 12 August.

When asked how he pleaded, Mr Rountree initially responded "not guilty" but then changed his reply to "guilty". A sentencing date has not been set.

Mr Rountree is said to have carried out three bank robberies since 1998 as revenge after he was made bankrupt.

Envelope message

The defendant looked frail and was leaning on a walking stick in the courtroom, reports said.

But the court heard how he had walked into the First American Bank in Abilene and handed the cashier an envelope with the word "robbery" written on it in red ink. He gave her a second envelope and told her to put the money inside.

The cashier reportedly twice asked whether the 91-year-old was joking.

But it is clamed he told her: "Hurry up or you will get hurt."

A member of staff and some customers wrote down Rountree's registration number as he left the car park and he was stopped 20 miles (32km) from the town.

The authorities say Rountree's previous encounters with the law started in 1998, a week before his 87th birthday. He was arrested in Biloxi, Mississippi, soon after robbing a bank.

He was given three years' probation, fined $260 and told to leave the state.

Bankruptcy

In October 1999, he was arrested outside a NationsBank in Pensacola, Florida, after handing a cashier a piece of paper with "robbery" written on it and telling her: "Give me the hundreds."

He was given a three year prison sentence after being convicted of bank robbery.

His lawyer, Shery Kime-Goodwin, declined to comment.

The Lubbock Avalanche Journal said that during a 2001 prison interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Mr Rountree said he robbed banks for money and revenge because a bank in Corpus Christi allegedly forced him into bankruptcy.

He is said to have once been a successful businessman who made his fortune in Houston by building Rountree Machinery Company.




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