(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)
A Springfield, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to robbing Bank of America and kidnapping the bank manager by forcing him to leave the bank with him.
Timothy Polodna, 53, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to bank robbery and kidnapping.
By pleading guilty today, Polodna admitted that he stole $26,536 from Bank of America, 633 W. Kearney St., Springfield, on July 9, 2014. Polodna entered the bank at approximately 10:30 a.m., wearing a ball cap, sunglasses and a large piece of white gauze over his chin. Polodna told a bank employee he needed to talk to someone about getting a loan and was directed to the bank manager’s office. The bank manager, who was already on alert due to Polodna’s apparent disguise, asked him to remove his hat and sunglasses. Polodna then told the bank manager, “You know why I’m here.” He then said that he had an “explosive device with a remote.” Polodna ordered the bank manager to stand up, turn around and lift his pant legs to check him for weapons. Polodna then ordered the bank manager to take him to the vault.
The bank manager, who had already activated the alarm, attempted to stall Polodna and suggested that Polodna wait in the office while he went to the vault alone. Polodna refused and demanded that he be taken to the vault. He took Polodna behind the teller counter to the drive up window where he told a teller to give Polodna cash from her teller drawer. She placed the money in a bag Polodna was carrying and he told her in a low voice, “Don’t push the alarm. I have an explosive device. I’ll set it off.”
After receiving the money, Polodna ordered the bank manager to open the doors for his exit from the bank. The bank manager opened the doors as instructed, exiting each of the two doors while holding them open for Polodna, who was behind him, to walk through the doors. Once outside, the bank manager then walked in front of Polodna, across the bank parking lot, toward the Rice House restaurant. Polodna’s gestures, actions and instruction to open the doors, coupled with the representation that he had a bomb, reasonably caused the bank manager to believe he was being ordered to leave the bank with Polodna. After crossing the street, Polodna told the bank manager to continue to walk three blocks north before calling the police. The bank manager initially complied and began to walk away, but after observing that Polodna had gone around the corner of the Rice House, the bank manager returned to the bank.
On July 14, 2014, the FBI received an anonymous tip that the vehicle in surveillance photos looked very similar to a vehicle owned by Polodna’s father. FBI agents were told that the rear window of the vehicle had been broken out a few days earlier, shortly after police reports highlighting distinctive stickers were noted in a news report about the bank robbery. The anonymous source also said the Polodna closely resembled the individual in the surveillance photos.
Agents contacted Polodna’s father, who confirmed that the rear window of his truck had been broken. Polodna’s father told agents that he believed his truck window was damaged because his son had used his truck when he committed the bank robbery and wanted to remove the incriminating stickers observed in pictures and by witnesses noted in press reports.
Agents searched the basement of Polodna’s parents’ home, where he was living, on July 16, 2014. They found a portion of the money taken during the bank robbery hidden in the area above the drop ceiling of the basement and Polodna was arrested.
Under federal statutes, Polodna is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, for bank robbery, plus a mandatory consecutive sentence of seven years in federal prison without parole for kidnapping. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.