Florence Laster came as close to a robbery as she cares to get.


Florence Laster came as close to a robbery as she cares to get.
Laster was cashing a check at 2:28 p.m. Monday in the US Bank branch at 4701 McMasters in Hannibal.
To her surprise, a man who stood just a few feet away at another teller window held up the bank, then left.
“The teller said ‘We’ve just been robbed,’” Laster said as she got into her vehicle after the ordeal. “It could have been bad, but it wasn’t.”
Hannibal police said no weapon was displayed and there were no injuries.
Laster remembered the man walked in behind her, but “I didn’t look at his face,” she said. “He wasn’t someone I knew.”
Authorities continued their search for a suspect Monday evening after combing nearby stores, apartment complexes and neighborhoods.
The suspect was described as a white man, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 30 to 40 years old with a medium build and a light beard.
Laster said the man was wearing a stocking hat, a dark winter jacket that had a horizontal blue line on it, blue jeans, black gloves and had a slight limp on his right side.
“The little girl he robbed was really upset,” Laster said. “I said ‘Don’t be upset. It’s over. Noboby got hurt.’”
Investigators were told the suspect had headed west toward the Huck Finn Shopping Center, which was crowded with post-holiday shoppers.
A search of businesses by Hannibal police officers and detectives, Marion County sheriff’s deputies and the Missouri Highway Patrol proved futile.
Deanna Sharkey of Kirlin’s Hallmark was facing the Huck Finn parking lot about the time of the robbery, but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
“If we see anything unusual, I’m going to report it,” Sharkey said. “We’ll deal with it.”
Spokespeople at other stores declined to comment. Hannibal police issued a news release about the robbery, but did not offer any statements beyond basic facts.
Hannibal High and Hannibal Middle School, which are directly across the street from the bank, were on holiday break, so there was no need for a lockdown.
Neither the bank nor police released surveillance video.
The bank did not re-open Monday afternoon, and a woman who answered the telephone declined to comment.
Teri Charest, vice president of media relations with US Bancorp, had not been made aware of the robbery late Monday afternoon.
“Typically, we don’t make any kind of comment because there’s generally a police investigation, and anything we say we just want to make sure we defer to the police and not interfere with their investigation,” Charest told the Courier-Post.
The bank location has been robbed at least twice before.
The first time was on Aug. 28, 2000, when it was a Firstar branch.
The second holdup, on April 26, 2004, took place after US Bank had taken over. A suspect was arrested in Chicago three months later.
People with information on the latest holdup are asked to call Hannibal police at (573) 221-0987 or log on to www.hannibalpd.com.

While fairly unshaken, Laster still planned to go home and have a glass of wine.
“There’s no sense getting all upset about it,” she said as she drove away.

Courier-Post Reporter Danny Henley contributed to this article.