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Bank robber wearing Santa hat threatened to blow up bank in St. Louis County, police say

The robber had a white beard and was still wearing the Santa Claus hat when he was arrested, police said
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A man wearing a Santa Claus hat robbed a bank and later made a bomb threat during his arrest, police said, forcing the closure of a portion of St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann Saturday morning.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office charged Kenneth Hopper, 58, with first-degree robbery and making a terroristic threat. Both are felony charges.

Credit: St. Louis Co. Department of Justice Services

St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said at about 8:45 a.m., Bridgeton police asked them to keep an eye out for a white Chevrolet Impala driven by a man with a white beard and a Santa Claus hat who had just robbed the First Community Credit Union on St. Charles Road Road near McKelvey Road in Bridgeton. He made off with $1,000, according to charging documents.

A short time later, Hopper drove by the St. Ann police station on St. Charles Rock Road, about 2.5 miles away from the bank, where officers took him into custody on a street adjacent to the department. The stolen money was in the car and he was still wearing the Santa Claus hat, Jimenez said.

As officers took Hopper into custody, he kept saying that there was a bomb in his car, Jimenez said. He also told bank tellers he had a bomb in his car and would blow up the bank if they didn't give him money.

Several streets near the St. Ann Police Department were closed to traffic while the St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit and the FBI investigated.

A short time later, a bomb-sniffing dog and a small robot confirmed there was no bomb inside Hopper's car. Police reopened the affected streets to traffic, and Hopper's car was towed away.

Hopper was taken to an area hospital with chest pains following his arrest.

He is being held in the St. Louis County Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.