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The Strange Story of the White House Secret Service Guard Who Robbed a Bank

Read the strange story of the White House Secret Service guard who robbed a Citizens National Bank branch in Laurel in 1981. We came across the article and the sentencing in The Baltimore Sun. Come read this bizarre story from the 1980s!
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Now this is not something you’ll read everyday … or ever really. Except in 1981. We came across this article in The Baltimore Sun from September 23rd of that year.

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A 29-year-old White House guard has been charge with the gunpoint robbery Monday of a Citizens National Bank branch in Laurel, the FBI said yesterday.

Authorities said John Arthur Bachmann, Jr., of the 14000 block Fourth street, Laurel, was charged under the federal bank robbery statute after he was interviewed at the FBI’s Hyattsville office Monday.

Mr. Bachmann, a member of the U.S. Secret Service’s uniformed division–which guards the White House grounds, various federal buildings and foreign missions–was placed on “administrative leave” after his arrest, officials said.

The Secret Service official said he also did not have information available last night about the suspect’s background or the length of time he had been employed by the Secret Service.

But he noted that the uniformed division is assigned to guard duties relating to property, rather than charged with physical protection of officials such as the president.

The spokesman said details about the bank robbery could be released only by the FBI, which was investigating the case.

It wasn’t that long ago. Does anyone remember this? Digging through other newspapers, we came across the sentencing of Bachmann. Here is what we found in The Baltimore Sun.

A 29-year-old former White House Secret Service guard yesterday was given a 20-year prison term-all but 6 months suspended–and placed on 5 years’ probation for the armed robbery last September of a Laurel bank.

Authorities said Bachman, of the 1400 block Fourth street, Laurel, who pleaded guilty to the bank robbery charge, entered the bank about 9 a.m. September 22 and ordered a teller to give him $10 and $20 bills.

Authorities said he opened his jacket, revealing a handgun that was tucked in his clothing. The teller handed him the money in a brown paper bag and he ran out of the bank.

Yesterday, St. William P. Davis, Bachmann’s supervisor, testified on his former employee’s behalf, characterizing him as a good person who has a good record with the Secret Service.

Bachmann also testified on his own behalf but offered no reason why he committed the robbery.

Paul Kemp, his public defender lawyer, cited Bachmann’s severe depression over family matters and finances as the kinds of things that were happening in his life at the time of the robbery.

In a 40-minute oration, Judge Miller noted, among other things, that a psychiatric report indicated that Bachmann had psychiatric problems at the time of the robbery. He concluded that sending Bachmann to prison would serve no useful purpose, as “he has suffered enough.”

So, there you have it. A pretty bizarre story from the 1980s about the Secret Service bank robber.

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