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91-Year-Old Man Arrested For Bank Robbery (3rd time in 5 years)
WKMG-TV/DT Orlando ^ | 8.13.03

Posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:14 PM PDT by mhking

ABILENE, Texas -- A 91-year-old Texas man - once the oldest inmate in Florida - is back in jail again, accused of robbing his third bank in five years.

J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree, of Goldthwaite, walked into a branch of First American Bank in Abilene about 10 a.m. Tuesday, demanded money from a teller and passed over a large envelope with "ROBBERY" written on it.

He left in a car parked near the bank, but a witness got the license plate, which police tracked to an address in Goldthwaite, 110 miles southeast of Abilene. About a half-hour later, Rountree was pulled over by officers with the Department of Public Safety and the Taylor County Sheriff's Department as he drove through Lawn, 16 miles south of Abilene on U.S. 84 on the way back to Goldthwaite.

Rountree was jailed on a charge of bank robbery. Bond was set at $150,000.

On Dec. 9, 1998, one week before his 87th birthday, Rountree was arrested in Biloxi, Miss., minutes after he robbed a bank. He was eventually given three years probation, fined $260 and told to leave Mississippi.

Less than a year later, in October 1999, he was arrested outside a NationsBank in Pensacola, Fla., after giving a teller a note that said "ROBBERY" written in red ink and telling her, "Give me the $100s." He was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to three years in prison, becoming the oldest inmate in the Florida prison system.

Sgt. Mike Perry of the Abilene Police Department said about $2,000 was taken in Tuesday's robbery, all of which was on Rountree when he was arrested.

"I don't ever recall us arresting a person this old, nor do I recall hearing of a person this old being arrested for a crime, much less bank robbery," Perry said.

"There's just not anything I want to say about it," Bobby Rountree, his great-nephew and Goldthwaite's city manager, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He's a great-uncle with no family, and it's a bad deal. He's just been here about a year."

Betty Rountree of Goldthwaite, whose husband is Red Rountree's nephew, told the Orlando Sentinel for a 2001 article that Red Rountree once was a successful businessman who made his fortune in Houston by building Rountree Machinery Co.

Red Rountree married Fay in 1936 and her death from cancer in 1986 devastated him.

"After she died, I went crazy," he said in his prison interview with the newspaper. "I was the most lonesome man you ever saw in your life." He said he stopped associating with friends, neglected his business and started spending time in bars.

A year after his wife's death, when he was 76, he married a 31-year-old woman. He said he spent $500,000 putting her through a series of drug rehab programs.

They divorced and it was sometime after that - Rountree wouldn't say where or when - that he robbed his first bank. Money and revenge were motivations. A Corpus Christi bank that he'd done business with had forced him into bankruptcy, he told the newspaper, and he had never liked banks since.

When asked in 2001 what he would do when he got out of prison, Rountree said, "I might rob another bank. I'm not saying I will or I won't. But, hey, I might need to."


TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:15 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
Just damn.

If you want on the new list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

2 posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:36 PM PDT by mhking
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To: mhking
Sounds to me like he wants to go back to prison.
3 posted on 08/13/2003 5:50:28 PM PDT by Ronin (Qui tacet consentit!)
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To: mhking
Did you ever see the George Burns flick "Goin' In Style"?

Worth a rental on a rainy afternoon...
4 posted on 08/13/2003 5:50:32 PM PDT by ambrose
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To: mhking
What is his downside. If he succedes he has cash to live on.

If not he get free room and board, heating and air conditioning, cable and free medical.

Most likely he is better of in prison.

5 posted on 08/13/2003 5:50:38 PM PDT by Newbomb Turk
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To: mhking
When asked in 2001 what he would do when he got out of prison, Rountree said, "I might rob another bank. I'm not saying I will or I won't. But, hey, I might need to."

ROTFL...

6 posted on 08/13/2003 5:50:48 PM PDT by SouthernFreebird
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To: mhking
Sooner or later, he'll be rehabilitated.
7 posted on 08/13/2003 5:51:48 PM PDT by wimpycat (Down with Kooks and Kookery!)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
What do you make of Red?
8 posted on 08/13/2003 5:53:52 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds (All roads lead to reality. That's why I smile.)
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To: mhking
Heres the way it came out in the Abilene paper.
I live in Coleman, about 55 miles south of Abilene, and followed the incident on my scanner. Got very interesting
LOL

http://www.reporternews.com/abil/nw_local/article/0,1874,ABIL_7959_2176655,00.html


Robbery suspect one for the ages
Man accused is 91, has criminal history

By Thaddeus DeJesus
Reporter-News Staff Writer
August 13, 2003

A 91-year-old Goldthwaite man was arrested and charged with robbing an Abilene bank Tuesday.

Police said J.L. Hunter Rountree allegedly demanded money from a clerk at First American Bank, at 3409 S. 14th St., shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. Rountree was stopped on U.S. Highway 84 outside of Lawn, about 20 miles south of Abilene, within an hour of the robbery. His car matched the description of a statewide bulletin issued after the robbery, and was stopped by a West Central Texas Interlocal Crime Task Force agent.

Authorities recovered all the money allegedly taken from the bank — about $2,000 — from inside the sedan Rountree was driving, officials said.

Rountree apparently did not use a weapon, but is accused of demanding money verbally and in a note written on an envelope, said Abilene Police Sgt. Mike Perry, who noted that the crime is unusual because of the suspect’s age. Bank robbers typically range in age from the 20s to the 40s, he said.

"It’s the oldest bank robber I’ve been involved with," said Perry, a 12-year police force veteran.

Rountree is charged with robbery and is being held at the Taylor County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail. The robbery is being investigated by both the Abilene Police Department and the FBI.

Perry said the Taylor County district attorney and a federal prosecutor will decide which entity will prosecute the case.

During interviews with detectives Tuesday afternoon, Rountree was lucid but said little about a motive, Perry said. The suspect instead alluded to a failed business and a general hatred of banks, Perry said.

In February 2001, the Orlando Sentinel profiled Rountree, the Florida prison system’s oldest inmate, while he was serving a three-year sentence in connection with a 1999 robbery of a Nations Bank in Pensacola. The article also noted that Rountree attempted to rob a Biloxi, Miss., bank in 1998 when he was 87. He received probation for that robbery attempt.

"A Corpus Christi bank that I’d done business with had forced me into bankruptcy," Rountree told the Orlando Sentinel. "I have never liked banks since. I decided I would get even. And I have. Banks are the easiest things in the world to rob."

According to the Orlando newspaper article, Rountree was once a successful Houston businessman, who built a company that designed and built industrial-size able winches to hold offshore drilling rigs in place. He lost his fortune after his wife, Fay Rountree, died in 1986 and he became involved with younger women with drug problems, the Sentinel reported. Rountree told the newspaper he spent $500,000 on drug rehabilitation for his second wife, whom he later divorced.

The article quoted him as saying, "I rob banks for the money. Social Security is all I have, and I like to live good."

Capt. Chip Simmons with the Pensacola Police Department said the Florida case caused a flurry of local attention because of Rountree’s age. The arrest and subsequent conviction was the only run-in Rountree had in Pensacola, Simmons said. His record had no address, leading some Pensacola officials to suspect that Rountree was homeless and desperate.

"He’s done one better — he’s now 91," Simmons said upon learning Rountree had been arrested for Tuesday’s robbery. "There were some people who were wondering about the motive. You obviously feel for someone for that age, but you can’t allow someone to do what he’s done regardless of age."

Aside from the Pensacola bank robbery, Rountree’s criminal record is peppered with other crimes, including convictions for minor thefts and burglary of a vehicle.

In handcuffs and police custody at Taylor County Law Enforcement Center by noon, Rountree was stone-faced as he shuffled into the building, refusing to answer reporters’ questions. As the police cruiser pulled up to the station, Rountree tried to cower in the back seat until a police officer gingerly assisted the 91-year-old in exiting the vehicle.

Rountree’s nephew, Buddy Rountree of Goldthwaite, said he last spoke to his uncle for a few minutes on Monday before a doctor’s appointment. Buddy Rountree said he was at a loss to explain his uncle’s action.

"I don’t have any more idea than the man on the moon," he said.

J.L. Hunter Rountree, who is also known by the nickname "Red," declined a request for a jailhouse interview Tuesday.

Tuesday’s robbery coincidentally fell in line with the Abilene Police Department’s "Bump Day," when officers are reassigned to other positions according to seniority. During last year’s Bump Day, a baby was kidnapped in the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot, attracting national media attention. The baby was recovered in Quanah the next day.

The last bank robbery in Abilene occurred Nov. 7 at First National Bank’s motor bank, about a block away from the location of Tuesday’s robbery. The case was solved Christmas Eve when Adam Gladhill was arrested and charged for the armed robbery.

Contact staff writer Thaddeus DeJesus at dejesust@reporternews.com or 676-6744.
9 posted on 08/13/2003 6:02:06 PM PDT by 76834
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To: Scenic Sounds
What do you make of Red?

Red definitely has style.

10 posted on 08/13/2003 6:02:30 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Traficant is a real conservative who will stomp out the socialist rats but good!)
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To: wimpycat
"Sooner or later, he'll be rehabilitated."

LOL, they should just send him to Alcatraz and make him the only inmate. He would be an appropriate tourist attraction for that old prison.
11 posted on 08/13/2003 6:03:27 PM PDT by Lockbar
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Well, what should society do with Red? Shall we pick up his future medical bills? LOL
12 posted on 08/13/2003 6:03:36 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds (All roads lead to reality. That's why I smile.)
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To: Scenic Sounds
Well, what should society do with Red? Shall we pick up his future medical bills? LOL

At 91, I don't think he'll have too many more.

13 posted on 08/13/2003 6:09:09 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Traficant is a real conservative who will stomp out the socialist rats but good!)
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To: mhking
Hmmm. I wonder how well the case would go if he didn't write out "robbery".
14 posted on 08/13/2003 6:10:06 PM PDT by lepton
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To: Cathryn Crawford
At 91, I don't think he'll have too many more.

Hard to say - he seems to be doing pretty well for 91. He misses his wife, I think. ;-)

15 posted on 08/13/2003 6:11:35 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds (All roads lead to reality. That's why I smile.)
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To: mhking
It was the getaway that trip him up...

The cops just had to look for the car going 10 miles an hour with the right blinker on all the time

16 posted on 08/13/2003 6:12:09 PM PDT by tophat9000
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To: tophat9000
The cops just had to look for the car going 10 miles an hour with the right blinker on all the time

and wearing a fedora.

17 posted on 08/13/2003 6:14:53 PM PDT by MatthewViti
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To: Scenic Sounds
Hard to say - he seems to be doing pretty well for 91. He misses his wife, I think. ;-)

More than likely. Maybe he was just cruising for chicks at the bank. :-)

18 posted on 08/13/2003 6:21:03 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Traficant is a real conservative who will stomp out the socialist rats but good!)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
More than likely. Maybe he was just cruising for chicks at the bank. :-)

Well, let's just hope I'm not doing that at 91. Or 61. LOL. ;-)

19 posted on 08/13/2003 6:31:45 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds (All roads lead to reality. That's why I smile.)
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To: Scenic Sounds
Well, let's just hope I'm not doing that at 91. Or 61. LOL. ;-)

I should hope not! :-)

20 posted on 08/13/2003 6:32:53 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Traficant is a real conservative who will stomp out the socialist rats but good!)
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To: Newbomb Turk
This is actually the fault of Bush and the GOP, because they are denying pills, social security and medicare to Seniors, forcing them to eat dog food and rob banks, just to stay alive.
21 posted on 08/13/2003 8:12:00 PM PDT by Guillermo (Proud Infidel)
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To: mhking
"There's just not anything I want to say about it," Bobby Rountree, his great-nephew and Goldthwaite's city manager, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He's a great-uncle with no family, and it's a bad deal. He's just been here about a year."

Is he saying that it's a bad deal that the man was arrested? Or a bad deal that he's related to him?
22 posted on 08/14/2003 7:04:13 AM PDT by honeygrl
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To: mhking
It's got to make you wonder what these masterminds were thinking, doesn't it? Last week in Vidalia, GA a man in a wheel chair robbed a BB&T bank. He rolled in cruising in his hot rod wheel chair armed with a pistol and shot the pistol into the air, he was arrested before he could even leave the bank parking lot. In my opinion these idiots wanted to get caught, after all they get free a/c, room and board and medical treatment.
23 posted on 08/14/2003 1:52:03 PM PDT by HELLRAISER II
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To: Cathryn Crawford
He sounds like a fruit cake. after his first wife died it seems he lost his sanity along with her. spending all that money on a 31 year old for rehab? and where is she now? getting more rehab? hes just a lost soul. ya, like I said fruit cake!
24 posted on 08/14/2003 8:10:23 PM PDT by Walnut
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