77-year-old accused of robbing bank, Boynton police say

A 77-year-old Boynton Beach man who used a walker to help him get around held a bank manager hostage at knifepoint during a robbery attempt, according to Boynton Beach Police.

It happened at about 12:40 p.m. Friday Employees told police a customer, Russell Cooper, was upset and asking why he couldn't get money from his account.

Cooper was led into a branch manager's officer where he was told a "consistent lack of funds" caused his account to be closed. But the explanation only made him "increasingly agitated," according to the report.

That's when the manager told police Cooper stood up, walked around the managers desk, and pulled out a pocket knife. The manager said he was boxed in and that Cooper then demanded to be escorted to a teller to get money.


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Cooper got the $130 he demanded but kept the knife pointed at the manager, telling the manager was a going to be his hostage.

The manager said Cooper forced him outside. But police were already arrving and the manager was able to escape.

An officer said he ordered Cooper to drop the knife. But Cooper instead demanded the officer shoot him, threatening to stab him if he didn't.

The threats continued until another officer came up behind Cooper, Tasered him and took him into custody, according to the report.

County court records show possible money problems for Cooper, who filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Police arrested Cooper, who faces armed robbery and kidnapping charges and is held in Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report

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