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 John David Farnell, 61, of Fulton, 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 bank robbing spree and then drove back to Fulton each time. He parked his white minivan at his rented home on Sixth Street in Fulton, just about one block from the Fulton Police Station at that time in downtown Fulton. Ironically, a Crime Neighborhood Watch sign was mounted on a 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 Monday Farnell pleaded guilty in U.S. Western District Court in Jefferson City to robbing banks in Missouri at Sedalia and Chillicothe.