Criminal genius? A drive-through bank robbery

Dec. 5--HARDEEVILLE -- A Florida woman is in custody after attempting a timid, and not very well planned, bank robbery Tuesday morning, according to authorities.

She slipped a note into the tube at the drive-through at the South Carolina Bank & Trust on U.S. 17 and waited for a response from the teller, said city spokesman Paul Floeckher. The teller was able to inform the manager, who called 911.

Police Chief Richard Nagy said the woman did not wear a disguise or conceal the tags on her vehicle during the attempted robbery. It appeared she randomly chose the bank and didn't do much homework.

Because the bank is just down the road from the police station, three officers arrived in less than a minute. She took off without any cash, leading the officers on a brief chase through the parking lots of two stores before stopping on Paynesville Road, said Floeckher.

Barbara Joyner, 59, of Callahan, Fla., was arrested without incident, authorities said.

"We think she was just passing through and she selected that exit to get off," the chief said.

Most bank robberies are prosecuted federally, but Joyner faces state charges on bank

robbery and failure to stop for blue lights. That decision was made after a couple hours of questioning.

"The collective mindset of the authorities involved was that she might be better served in the state system, where she'd have access to mental health services," said Kevin McDonald, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbia.

Joyner remained in the Jasper County Detention Center on Tuesday night. Her bond had not been set.

Robbing a bank from a drive-through window is rare, but does happen on occasion.

In 2006, 78 of the 7,272 bank robberies nationwide occurred from a drive-through or walk-through window, according to special agent Steve Kodak, a national spokesman for the FBI. That's about 1 percent.

And, even more surprisingly, some of them were successful.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island, S.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.