Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Dougherty Gang

First, We Gotta Hit the Bank

  

In the movies, we learn that after a high-speed pursuit, it's best to lay low for a little while. But this was not the movies and the trio had other plans.

A trip to the bank to withdraw some cash is routine on any road trip, but the Dougherty siblings had a different sort of bank stop in mind. On August 2, the same day of their alleged high-speed shoot out, and two hours after television news stations began broadcasting images from the pursuit, the threesome walked into the Certus Bank on Norman Drive in Valdosta, Georgia, 200 miles south of Zephyrhills. Like regular customers, police allege, they walked through the front door.

Ak-47, similar
Ak-47, similar

Bank robbers generally take two routes when robbing a bank. They do it quietly, without drawing attention to themselves, and whisper or pass a note to the teller, demanding money. Then, they leave as fast as possible. The other way is to be as loud, obnoxious and as intimidating as possible. This is the version in which people get hurt.

The latter was the method the Doughertys allegedly chose, though luckily, no one was hurt during the robbery.

Upon entering the bank they fired shots at the ceiling using what witnesses described as an AK-47. At least two of the three were armed, according to eyewitnesses. One of the robbers covered his or her face with a white handkerchief, and wore a tan hat and sunglasses. Two of the robbers yelled at the bank's customers and employees to get on the ground, while the other loaded up the cash.

Surveillance still of bank robber
Surveillance still of bank robber

They fled in a white four-door sedan, later identified as a Subaru Impreza.

Now, the police were steaming mad.

On Wednesday morning, they held another joint press conference identifying the suspects by name as persons of interest in the car chase shooting.

By Thursday, the threesome's faces were plastered on billboards in Florida. The F.B.I. connected the dots and learned that the robbers and the car shootout suspects were the same. They released a statement warning the public that the trio were armed and dangerous.

As more was revealed about the Doughertys, the more the media ate up the made-for-Hollywood story.

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