"Take Over Bandits" Trial

On July 6, 2007 two robbers entered the Bank of America branch on Loop 287 and robbed the bank at gunpoint.  The men believed responsible for the heist have been charged and are now on trial in federal court in Tyler.  It turns out, the two men charged in the Lufkin bank robbery are suspects in 15 other bank holdups.

The bank robbers have been dubbed the "Take Over Bandits."  They have been identified as 34 year old Derrick Hodges and his half brother 40 year old Paul Thomas.

The "Takeover Bandits" are charged with robbing five banks and credit unions at gunpoint from December 5, 2005 through September 21, 2007 in Tyler, Henderson, Troup, Lufkin and Crockett.  Both men pleaded not guilty during an April court appearance.  They each face 18 charges.

This week the  prosecution is presenting its case.  Linda Robinson, a teller at the Bank Of America in Lufkin, was among several employees from various banks allegedly robbed by the "Take Over Bandits" to testify.  Police reports in the bank robbery that occurred on July 6, 2007 indicate two men armed with guns entered the Bank of America branch on Loop 287 in Lufkin.  Witnesses say the robbers wore long sleeve shirts, long pants, hats, sunglasses and bandanas over their faces.  They reportedly stole $50,000 from that location.  They were seen fleeing the bank in a pickup truck.  Police investigators say the robbers were later spotted jumping out of the truck and into a church van with a United Pentecostal Church logo written on it.  Police say both vehicles had been stolen, the pickup truck from Knight Motor Company and the church van from the church parking lot.

The men are also accused of robbing Citizens National Bank in Crockett on September 22, 2007, Austin Bank in Troup on June 22, 2007, the Kelly Community Federal Credit Union in Tyler on December 5, 2005, and the Bank of America in Henderson on November 3, 2006.

Prosecutors say the men are suspected of robbing 15 banks, but at this time are only being tried for five.  They also face firearm charges.