Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ronald Eugene Pollard, Casino Bank Robber Non-Extraordinaire

From Alabama Crime Writer Nick Ireland...

You just might be addicted to gambling if your first stop after robbing a bank is a casino in Tunica, Mississippi. You just might not be too smart either, but no one ever called bank robber Ronald Eugene Pollard even close to smart.

It’s not easy being married and the father to five kids, but it’s a pretty good guess that Pollard’s hobby didn’t take any stress off his marriage. By 2010 he was divorced and living in the middle class subdivision of Greenbriar in Florence, Alabama. And those Mississippi gambling sirens called all the more loudly.

On July 9, 2010, Pollard donned a pair of shades and a do-rag and headed off to the TVA Credit Union in Athens. Great disguise for a white guy, huh? We told you Ronald Pollard wasn’t any too bright.

Once mixed in with the usual Friday afternoon rush, Pollard informs the teller he has a gun and walks out with a wad of cash—goose-stepping all the way from the looks of surveillance videos—another great disguise tactic.

It didn’t take Ronald Pollard long to spend his ill-gotten gains, or would that be long to gamble them away? On September 23, 2010, Pollard drove his blue Astro Van (boy, this guy has rotten taste) down to Phil Campbell in Franklin County and robbed the CB&S Bank. Informing one of the two tellers that he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot her, Pollard again hurriedly pocketed the cash and drove home to Florence.

This time witnesses got a good look at his unfortunate choice in rides, and a Crime Stoppers tip put the dye-stained finger on Ronald Eugene Pollard. When authorities who sought to question Pollard at his Hixon Drive home didn’t receive any answer to their knock, they decided to use explosives to blow in the front door. No one ever said law enforcement was subtle, but the neighbors must have gotten a good fright at all the pyrotechnics.

Finding no one at home, the authorities decided to watch the ranch house for the next week. Not surprisingly, no one tried to enter the home with the blown out front door, but maybe the cops thought someone as dumb as Pollard might not notice.

Apparently Pollard had returned to Florence only long enough to change vehicles and had headed to Tunica, Mississippi, in order to assuage his gambling jones. Based on another tip, Tunica County deputies found Pollard at the Best Value Inn on Casino Drive and took him into custody. Surprisingly, the hapless bank robber still had some of the cash left and it was returned with him to Franklin County.

Pollard sat in the Franklin County Jail until his trial in August 2012. Found guilty, the now 50 year-old Pollard was sentenced to three years in prison and five years probation for his Phil Campbell crime. Given credit for time served, Pollard was released from the Ventress Correctional Facility in September 2013 and began his probation which will end in 2018—unless he royally screws up again.

If you think this dumb crook got off pretty easy, don’t be so quick. Limestone County authorities were waiting for Pollard when he walked out of prison and took him back to North Alabama to face his charges there.

This time Ronald Eugene Pollard did get lucky and was allowed probation in the TVA Credit Union robbery. Let’s hope this not so brilliant thug has learned his lesson, but if you should see a goose-stepping, do-rag wearing white guy enter a bank late on a Friday afternoon, you might want to get your camera ready.