Two men were arrested after they attempted to rob the Bank of America on the southwest corner of 95th Street and Mission Road. Police arrived on scene after receiving a 911 call on Wednesday, Oct. 29 from outside the bank, according to the Overland Park Police Department Public Information Officer Gary Mason.
By the time police had arrived at the bank, people began to crowd around to watch the scene. Among them was senior Catherine Sabates. She viewed the event from the gas station parking lot across the street.
“I was just driving past,” Sabates said. “I was going to go run some errands and cash a check and I pulled up and there were a ton of police outside.”
Sabates, a customer of the bank, arrived shortly after the suspects had been taken into custody. She did not see the arrest take place, but witness the disturbances occurring in the Ranchmart area. According to Sabates road barricades were set up at both Mission Road and 95th Street temporarily blocking traffic.
According to court records filed Thursday, Oct. 30, Steven Allen Watts and Clifton B. Cloyd entered the bank at 4:56 p.m. Wednesday evening. Both men were armed with handguns. They ordered the employees and customers inside the bank to the floor and moved them towards the vault.
Shortly after the heist began, a witness outside the bank used their phone to dial 911. After receiving the call, police arrived near 5 p.m.
Due to the location of the bank, several departments assisted. While the bank is actually located in Overland Park, both the Leawood and Prairie Village departments played a key role in the arrest, according to Officer Mason.
“I want to stress the communication and the effort by the other agencies besides ours that helped take these guys into custody without having anybody get [seriously] hurt,” Officer Mason said.
Police were armed with rifles and handguns, and set up a perimeter around the bank. According to a witness, the police were accompanied by FBI and SWAT units, along with several ambulances and a fire truck.
“There was a ton of cops, and there was so many people standing around too.” Jacob Bossing, an employee of the Circle K gas station located across the street from the bank said . “This entire area was just full of people.”
Bossing was the only one working Wednesday evening, and watched the event unfold from inside the convenience store. While he is glad that nobody was seriously harmed in the robbery, he does feel that it helped to remind people that safety is not always a guarantee.
“A lot of people didn’t take it nearly as serious as they should’ve,” Bossing said. “A bank robbery is a very serious thing.”
Shortly after the police arrived, the men exited the building. Cloyd was quickly taken into custody in the bank parking lot, while Watts ran. He crossed the street to the northeast corner of the intersection. Police caught up to him in the McDonald’s parking lot and arrested him.
With the robbery occurring in such a highly populated suburban area, many people could have been at risk. However, Sabates said she did not feel concerned about her safety after witnessing this event.
“I feel like anything can happen anywhere,” Sabates said. “It’s just where you are and the time you’re there. The chances that that could happen to me in this area are pretty slim, so I don’t feel worried or anything.”
While the robbery was potentially dangerous, Officer Mason does not believe that this reflects poorly on the safety of the Overland Park and surrounding area. A heightened sense of caution may result in the following days of the robbery, but he does not feel that the area will see a substantial increase in overall security.
“I don’t think the answer is to increase patrols because banks are robbed no matter what, and you can’t predict when [it will happen],” Officer Mason said. “A bank is robbed because it’s a bank and not because it’s a bad area.”
Mason feels that the best thing to do during a robbery like this is to be prepared with safety procedures and protocols. Bank of America Corporate Liaison Diane Wagner had similar thoughts.
“We have strict security standards that we follow,” Wagoner said. “I think that when an accident like this happens, there’s opportunities to see how we can have prevent it.”
The money stolen has been returned to the bank and only two witnesses involved were injured. They were sent to a nearby hospital and received medical attention.
A trial will soon be held to determine the sentences of both Watts and Cloyd.