Feds: 82-Year-Old Broke Out of Halfway House, Became Car Thief, Drug Mule and Bank Robber

Elder Bank Robbery
Charles Manrow, 82, was charged with fleeing a California halfway house and committing armed bank robbery in Arizona on Nov. 15. He was held in jail pending trial. Google Maps

For 82-year-old Charles Manrow, there wasn't much action passing the days at a Long Beach, California halfway house. So he allegedly fled the court-mandated digs to go on a crime spree to boost cars and rob banks between muling dope for a former associate.

That's the contention in a complaint filed in Arizona's federal court, charging the octogenarian for attempting to rob an Arizona bank with a BB gun and electronic outlet detector amongst other crimes.

Manrow was charged with armed bank robbery was held pending trial, according to court documents.

It was around 11 a.m. on Nov. 15 when Manrow was behind the wheel of a dark grey Toyota Corolla with allegedly stolen Oregon tags, and saw First Bank located on North Litchfield Road in Goodyear, Arizona.

The old-timer allegedly made an impulsive decision to score some loot then and there.

According to the federal complaint reviewed by Newsweek, Manrow "decided this was the bank he was going to rob."

The document states that after Manrow pulled into a neighboring business to change his clothes and switch his license plate to a "stolen license plate."

Dressed in a white baseball hat, thermal shirt, blue slacks and black shoes Manrow allegedly entered the bank, marched toward a teller and placed on the counter a black handgun down atop a black binder and delivered a demand note with read: "give me all the money, only 100s, 50s, 20s, 10s and 5s."

The woman complied and placed $1,270 in cash on the binder, according to the complaint.

Manrow, the complaint adds, then showed the teller a black device that he allegedly told her would inform him "if she activated the alarm."

To make his getaway, Manrow allegedly ordered the teller to walk toward the bathroom.

"The suspect took the money, placed it in the binder and told the teller to walk to the ladies' room," the complaint reads.

The alleged bank robber hopped into his Corolla and attempted to flee. But three Goodyear Police detectives in an unmarked car spotted Manrow and his Oregon tags and performed a traffic stop.

They ultimately secured a warrant to search the car and found the currency as well as the man's demand note, his clothes, according to the inventory list bulleted in the complaint.

They also found a black BB gun that Manrow later conceded he used in the bank robbery.

After he was arrested, Manrow allegedly confessed that he purchased the weapon at a Walmart in Oregon.

Manrow said that he first gave the halfway house in Long Beach the slip and ran into an old drug associate who fit him with $25,000.

With the wad, Manrow hopped a bus to Georgia and bought the Corolla from his daughter. He then allegedly told authorities that he bought a mobile phone and an Oregon map and road tripped to Oregon.

He allegedly claims to have "stole an Oregon license plate" and bought the BB gun especially "for the future purpose of committing bank robbery."

The elderly man then allegedly headed to Arizona, for what the complaint states was "for the purpose of transporting marijuana."

But while muling the marijuana, Manrow "was running low on money," the complaint states.

He then cooked up the scheme to knock off banks "while he was awaiting contact from his drug associate," according to the complaint.

The accused bank robber allegedly explained that the BB gun and stolen funds were in the car. As was the electronic outlet detector, that he allegedly used to spook the teller.

In fact, Manrow acknowledged that the electronic bank alarm device he allegedly used in the robbery of First Bank wasn't so advanced.

It was actually used "for testing electronic outlets," the complaint contends. Manrow told authorities that "he used it to scare the teller into believing her would know she activated an alarm."

Had Manrow managed to elude authorities he allegedly was going to accept future drug delivery assignments and not stop taking scores at other banks.

"Manrow stated had he not been caught he would have continued to rob banks every two weeks or so until he started his drug trafficking," according to the complaint.