FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A Pine Bluff man has admitted to robbing a Fort Smith bank in May by threatening a teller with a make-believe gun.
David James Howell, 48, pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court to one count of bank robbery.
Around 11 a.m. on May 2, Howell walked into BancorpSouth on Grand Avenue and told a female teller, “I need some money, this is serious, this is not a joke,” according to court documents.
She said Howell stuck his hand in his pocket and motioned as if he had a gun, saying, “don’t make me use this gun here.”
The teller said she gave Howell roughly $5,000 in cash, and he told her not to move for 30 seconds. After he ran off, she told co-workers about the robbery and activated a silent alarm.
Fort Smith police and an FBI agent responded to the bank, pulling surveillance video of the robbery. Investigators found Howell about an hour later on bench outside a restaurant on Rogers Avenue.
Investigators found $2,839 in cash inside Howell’s backpack, according to court documents.
Howell, who also had an arrest warrant for absconding, agreed with investigators that his threat made the teller fear for her life.
Howell’s sentencing hearing hasn’t been set. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Howell is being held without bond at the Sebastian County Detention Center