Fulton man sentenced again for state bank robbing spree

John David Farnell, 61, Fulton, was sentenced Monday in federal Western District Court in Jefferson City to five years and 10 months in federal prison without parole for a bank robbing spree four years ago throughout Missouri.

Monday’s prison sentence will run at the same time as a previous bank robbery conviction and won’t add to Farnell’s time in federal prison. Farnell earlier had been sentenced to 13 years and six months in a separate federal bank robbery case that was prosecuted in Eastern District Court in St. Louis.

Four years ago, law enforcement officers throughout Missouri were seeking an overweight man driving a white minivan who had robbed numerous banks throughout Missouri.

The FBI in St. Louis and Kansas City launched a campaign that included digital billboards and the banditTrackerStLouis.com and the banditTrackerKansasCity.com websites seeking a serial bank robber described as heavyset man driving a white minivan.

The 14-month serial bank-robbing spree came to an end on April 29, 2010, when Farnell was arrested by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper shortly after Farnell robbed a bank in Cuba, Mo.

Farnell ‘s white Dodge Grand Caravan minivan getaway car was unusual for a bank robber. It blended in with a lot of other white minivans on the road at that time and made it difficult to catch him. It turned out Farnell committed his bank robberies during his 14-month spree and then drove back to Fulton each time. He parked his white minivan at his rented home on Sixth Street, just about one block from the former location of the Fulton Police Station. Ironically, a Neighborhood Watch sign was mounted on a utility pole just outside his front door.

The bank robbery in Cuba was Farnell 's last when his luck ran out. On that day a state trooper finally stopped the right white minivan near St. James, Mo. During a search of the van, a loaded Ruger .357 magnum revolver was recovered, as well as U.S. currency from the bank robbery.

On Jan. 7 Farnell pleaded guilty in U.S. Western District Court in Jefferson City to robbing banks in Missouri at Sedalia and Chillicothe.

A year ago in March Farnell was sentenced in U.S. Eastern District Court in St. Louis for robbing the First Community National Bank in Cuba on April 29, 2010, the Town & Country Bank Rolla on Dec. 18, 2009 and the Commerce Bank in Moberly on March 13, 2009.

For those three robberies, Farnell was sentenced to 13 years and six months in federal prison without parole.

But the federal government was not finished with Farnell. Federal prosecutors in Western Missouri also filed charges relating to the bank robberies in Sedalia and Chillicothe. He was sentenced Monday to five years and 10 months. But that sentence was ordered to run concurrent to his earlier conviction of 13 and one-half years.

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