Former Army chaplain arrested in bizarre bank robbery crime spree
Marcus Andrew Banks-Bey allegedly pepper-sprayed the driver of a van and then stole the vehicle.
A former Army chaplain is accused of committing a carjacking, making a hoax 911 emergency phone call claiming a gunman was threatening a high school, and robbing a bank in California, law enforcement officials said.
Marcus Andrew Banks-Bey, 42, allegedly car-jacked an AT&T van on Tuesday in Madera, California, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
Banks-Bey is accused of using an airsoft pistol to threaten the van’s driver, a news release on the sheriff’s office Facebook page says. The driver told authorities he was able to take the pistol away from Banks-Bey, who then pepper-sprayed him and stole his van.
After driving away in the van, Banks-Bey allegedly called 911 to falsely claim that an armed man was walking onto a high school campus to divert police while trying to rob a Fresno bank, according to the Fresno Police Department, which issued a separate news release about Banks-Bey.
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Police said Banks-Bey then went into the bank and demanded that a teller give him money, claiming he was armed, the news release says. He allegedly drove away from the bank in the AT&T van.
When detectives spotted the AT&T van, Banks-Bey allegedly tried to run away, but police ultimately apprehended him, the news release says.
“Officers located evidence connecting Banksbey to all three incidents including calling in the hoax call of an armed subject at Bullard High School,” according to the news release, which did not specify what evidence connected Banks-Bey to the carjacking, false 911 call, and bank robbery.
Banks-Bey served in the California Army National Guard as an information systems operator/analyst from 2000 until 2012, and then as command/unit chaplain from 2012 to 2019, said Army spokeswoman Heather J. Hagan.
Banks-Bey deployed to Jordan from November 2017 to April 2018, and he left the Army as a captain, Hagan told Task & Purpose on Friday. Banks-Bey’s Linkedin profile says he retired from the Army.
KFSN-TV, an ABC television station in Fresno, reported that Banks-Bey had been medically discharged from the Army, according to one of his friends. Hagan said she was unable to release the characterization of Banks-Bey’s discharge due to federal privacy laws.
It is unclear whether Banks-Bey was armed when he allegedly robbed the bank, KSFN-TV reported.
Banks-Bey’s Linkedin profile says he is a clinical supervisor, speaker, author, and actor. He has a page on the Internet Movie Database which lists him appearing in two movies: Checkmate for Life and Blue: The American Dream.
He is currently in custody at Fresno County Jail.
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