Man in Festus robbery will face similar charges in Cape

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Ste. Genevieve County deputy arrested accused bank robber James E. Cusick after finding him hiding in the trunk of the getaway vehicle used in a Festus, Mo., bank heist in 2004.

Cusick, who pleaded guilty to that robbery and received a 32-month federal prison term in May, now faces charges for the Oct. 14 robbery of the Bank of America at 800 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.

Cusick, 31, of Tamms, Ill., was arrested Oct. 22 after using a pellet gun to rob the Commerce Bank in Festus, then fleeing in a car driven by Nicholas N. Lacey, 21, of Olive Branch, Ill.

Ste. Genevieve County deputy Jason Louis was on patrol on Interstate 55 when he spotted the car. He called for backup, which hadn't arrived when Lacey drove into a rest stop.

"I could see him watching me," he said. "They kind of forced my hand. I didn't feel I was in a position where it was safe for the driver to exit the vehicle. I was extremely nervous."

Festus police reported that the robber had jumped into the car's trunk, Louis said. After cuffing Lacey, he unlocked the trunk. It didn't pop open.

"When I went to pull it up, it pulled back down," Louis said. "I knew he was in the trunk."

The pair was turned over to Festus police. They had taken about $3,500 from the Festus bank, said Capt. Mark Maples of the Ste. Genevieve County sheriff's department.

Lacey received a 30-month term and was sent to a federal prison in Arkansas. He was not charged with the Cape Girardeau robbery.

Cusick will appear for pretrial motions Oct. 4 in federal court in Cape Girardeau.

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