The more I look at the challenges our officers face every day, the more I realize what a great job they do in a system that seems to do little more than to create more work for them time and time again.
I am going to tell you a story of two incidents. The two suspects have a great deal in common upfront but the endings tell a tale of the trials and tribulations our city faces with some of its judges.
Let me introduce you to Timothy Krausman and Austin Reed.
Timothy Krausman Austin Reed
To tell this story, I am going to rely on a little help from Fox 2 (KTVI) and the Post-Dispatch. You see both men robbed financial institutions in our area last week, one in the City of St. Louis and the other in St. Peters. Both men were caught.
ST. PETERS, MO (KTVI) – Detectives with the St. Peters Police Department need the public's help in locating a bank robbery suspect who stole cash from the Bank of America at Mid-Rivers Mall Circle.
Bank surveillance photos show an African-American man, approximately 6’4” tall, who was wearing sunglasses, a Rams stocking cap, a dark blue vest, and gray long-sleeved shirt.
Police said he handed a crumpled note to the bank teller demanding money and suggesting he had a gun.
The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money and the suspect left. No one was hurt.
ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis police are looking for a man who held up a credit union Tuesday. It happened shortly before two at the Gateway Metro Federal Credit Union on Chestnut Street.
Police say he handed the teller a note but never showed a weapon.
The suspect ran off and was last seen headed toward the MetroLink station at 8th and Pine.
Call CrimeStoppers if you have information that can help police.
So there are the facts, both men walked into financial institutions last week, handed a teller a note, Austin may have indicated a gun but never displayed one, Timothy didn’t say he had a gun, both men took the money from the teller, left and no one was hurt. Both men are now under arrest.
That’s where their similarities stop. You see when you rob a bank in St. Peters (St. Charles County) they take it pretty seriously. According to the Post-Dispatch:
Police said (Austin) Reed was charged with robbery and was being held in the St. Charles County Jail with bail set at $500,000.
So if you are rooting for the City, one would think it would treat criminals who commit crimes in the City similar to those who commit crimes in other parts of our region. Spoiler alert…it didn’t work that way this time and in reality, it rarely does. The bail for committing the same crime in the City is exactly $497,500 LESS than in St. Charles County. That’s right the bail for Timothy Krausman was $25,000 or 10% cash-only.
But wait, as this is not the end of the story. It gets better, or actually worse. You see, Timothy lists his home address as 1621 North 1st Street in the City of St. Louis. If you follow Post-Dispatch reporter Nicholas J.C. Pistor, you would recognize that address as a “massive halfway house near downtown” which he wrote about earlier in May. That’s right, our bank robber is living in a halfway house on the edge of Downtown, along with about 550 other high-risk parolees.
Yep, you got it right, even if you are already on parole and living in a state-run halfway house, your bail is less.
There’s more. Timothy Krausman was sentenced to 10 years for Child Pornography in 2008. He was sentenced in Taney County (I had to look that one up too). Taney County is in the southwest part of the state and includes Branson. In April 2015, Timothy was released to the Kansas City Community Release Center where he stayed until the business community in KC lobbied the state to have that halfway house converted into a minimum security prison with no in and out privileges.
Let’s recap, while on parole for Child Pornography from southwest Missouri, Timothy Krausman is living at a halfway house in Downtown St. Louis after being relocated from Kansas City, he robs a bank and his bail is set at $2,500 cash-only. Fortunately, Timothy is still in custody but the bigger question remains, what message does this send to criminals? If you commit a crime and are caught in other parts of the region, there are REAL CONSEQUENCES. If you commit a crime and get caught in the City of St. Louis, well…
If you think this is an isolated incident, it’s not on either front the treatment by the courts or the problems at the halfway house. Because you see, another resident of 1621 North 1st Street was arrested in December of last year for, wait for it, robbing a bank in Downtown St. Louis.
You can’t make this up.
The moral to this story is a crime is a crime. I am not saying the judge in St. Charles County was correct, nor am I saying that the judge in the City of St. Louis is wrong. But if the perception is that crimes committed in the City of St. Louis don’t carry the same consequences as those in other parts of the region and you are a criminal, why not take a chance in the City? That has to change. The judges in the 22nd Judicial Circuit have the preponderance of work in the region and the state for that matter, but maybe they are making the work for themselves by not having the fortitude that some of their counterparts around the state have.
P.S. While I was sitting at my desk writing this blog, yet another resident of 1621 North 1st Street was just arrested for suspicion of breaking into a vehicle Downtown near the City Museum.
Kansas City had a halfway house just like this one until that community rallied and told the state no more. St. Louis, it's time for us to say enough is enough and end this crime factory.