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4 indicted for 15 bank robberies; Members of Paradise family face federal charges for 2014 crime spree

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, October 13, 2018
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A Paradise couple and two of their family members have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a cross-country bank robbery spree in 2014.

Paradise resident Rodney Adam Hurdsman and his wife, Stephanie Michelle Hurdsman, along with Stephanie’s sister, Oneida Denise Saylor, and another family member, Kenneth Lee Ulledahl, were recently indicted for a string of bank robberies that stretched from Colorado to Florida from March to September of 2014.

The Hurdsmans and Saylor were previously indicted last year for a June 16, 2014, robbery of the Malvern National Bank in Benton, Ark.

According to a superseding indictment returned by a grand jury for the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Arkansas Aug. 30 and unsealed on Sept. 20, the Hurdsmans, Saylor and Ulledahl are named as co-conspirators, and at least one or more are accused of taking part in 13 more bank robberies.

The string of robberies included hitting banks in six different states, two different banks in the same day on three separate occasions and robbing the same bank twice in a two-month span, the indictment alleges.

The group is accused of beginning their string of crimes with two bank robberies March 10, 2014, in Norman, Okla., – at Midfirst Bank and, 30 minutes later, at Prosperity Bank.

According to information published by the FBI the day of the robberies, the same man entered both banks, handed the teller a demand note and left with an undisclosed amount of money. In both cases, the man – described as a white male in his late 40s or early 50s with a salt and pepper goatee – left the bank and met up with another man outside.

“A weapon was implied in both robberies but none was seen,” according to the FBI news release.

A week later, March 17, two banks were robbed in the suburbs of Chicago: First Merit Banks in Elmhurst and Western Springs.

The fifth bank robbery of the month took place at IBC Bank in Edmond, Okla., March 28, according to the court documents.

Just a few days later, April 1, two banks near Dallas were robbed – Citizens National Bank of Texas (CNBT) in Red Oak and BBVA Compass Bank in Mesquite.

On May 23, the group is accused of robbing Key Bank in Aurora, Colo. According to the FBI Office in Denver, two suspects – a man and a woman – both entered the bank.

“The male displayed a dark colored handgun, jumped the counter and demanded money,” the FBI news release stated.

Following the June 16 robbery in Arkansas, the Wells Fargo in Lithia, Fla., was robbed June 26. Surveillance video shows a man and a woman enter the bank. The woman can be seen pointing a gun at people, including a child, while the man jumps over the counter to place cash in a bag.

The Regions Bank in Round Rock was robbed for the first time July 15. Investigators later determined that the group was also responsible for a robbery at the same bank Sept. 25.

Two Colorado banks were hit in as many days in August: Credit Union of Colorado in Parker Aug. 28 and TCF Bank in Colorado Springs Aug. 29.

The superseding indictment also alleges that the group attempted to steal latex gloves from Kmart in Little Rock, Ark., June 16 – the same day as the bank robbery in Benton.

The Hurdsmans were arrested Sept. 29, 2014, at a casino in Shreveport, La., four days after the last Round Rock bank robbery. Saylor had been arrested Aug. 15, 2014, for an unrelated bank robbery (see below).

Rodney and Stephanie Hurdsman have both entered “not guilty” pleas to the charges, according to court records.

RELATED CONVICTIONS

Another family member, Rodney Hurdsman’s stepson, James Capers, along with two other people, Christina Michelle Hickson and Steven Ray Archer, were charged with participating in three of the above-mentioned bank robberies – the March 28 robbery in Edmond, Okla., as well as the two April 1 in Red Oak and Mesquite.

All three have pleaded guilty to the crimes and been sentenced.

While the more recent indictments of the Hurdsmans, Saylor and Ulledahl don’t contain much public detail about the alleged crimes, court documents related to the three robberies Capers, Hickson and Archer participated in give broader accounts of those robberies.

During the IBC robbery in Edmond, Okla., Hickson demanded the money, Archer stood just outside the doors using a walking cane to prop the doors open, Capers remained in the getaway car as a lookout, and an unnamed co-conspirator waited in the car as the getaway driver.

“Hickson presented the teller with a bag containing a robbery note, which read something to the effect of, ‘This is a robbery. 100’s, 50’s and 20’s only. Don’t touch the 10’s. No dye-packs. We have multiple guns, and we will use them. Hurry the [expletive] up,'” according to the factual resume signed by Capers.

The teller complied, and Hickson left with $1,790.

The group had less success at their next bank robbery April 1 at the CNBT in Red Oak. In that robbery, Capers was assigned the task of demanding the money, but he found they might have picked the wrong day to pull off the crime.

“Upon approaching the teller, Capers removed a robbery note from a small bag he was carrying and handed it to the teller. The note read something to the effect of ‘this is a robbery, give me all the money you have’ and ‘no dye-packs.’ The teller thought it was an April fool’s joke and replied, ‘No.’ Capers asked if she was serious, and the teller again indicated that she would not give him any money,” according to federal court documents.

The group left the bank empty-handed, and it was only later, the documents state, that the teller realized it was an actual attempted bank robbery.

That same day, the group robbed the BBVA Compass Bank in Mesquite. In that robbery, Hickson entered the bank with the demand note while Capers ensured the doors remained unlocked. The crime netted $8,473, which was split between the three plus the unnamed co-conspirator.

Capers pleaded guilty to the three bank robberies in September of 2014 and was sentenced the next January to 63 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Hickson pleaded guilty to the three robberies and was sentenced in March of 2015 to 57 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. A new federal court indictment was filed in May of this year alleging that Hickson escaped from custody from the Volunteers of America Residential Re-Entry Center while serving her sentence. That case is still pending.

Archer’s plea to the three counts resulted in a sentence of 130 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

All three were also ordered to pay restitution: $1,790 they stole from IBC and $8,473 they took from BBVA.

While Saylor is facing multiple counts of bank robbery that took place in 2014, she is also serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to another bank robbery with a different co-defendant in August of 2014.

Federal court records show Saylor pleaded guilty to robbing My Credit Union in Euless Aug. 7, 2014, along with a man she was dating, Jeffrey Steven Munoz. Police were able to recognize Munoz from surveillance video and located the two suspects at a motel in Irving Aug. 15. Cash identified as some of the $21,550 stolen from the credit union was found in the motel room. Both suspects were also in possession of two automobiles that had both been purchased with cash Aug. 8 and Aug. 13.

Saylor pleaded guilty to the robbery and was sentenced in March of 2015 to 58 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Munoz also pleaded guilty and received a 36-month sentence with three years of supervised release. Court records indicate that earlier this year, Munoz violated the terms of his supervised release due to drug use and was sentenced to six months in prison followed by 30 months of supervised release.

LOCAL CONVICTIONS

Rodney Hurdsman and Capers are also serving time in prison for convictions in 271st District Court in Wise County for an unrelated offense. Both were indicted for stealing more than $20,000 worth of items from an Enbridge gas processing facility near Decatur in February 2014.

Capers pleaded guilty to his part in the crime in December of 2015 and was given a four-year jail sentence.

Hurdsman pleaded not guilty to the crime but was convicted by a Wise County jury in September of last year and sentenced to 75 years in jail. Hurdsman has appealed that conviction.

Hurdsman faced an enhanced penalty range in that case due to multiple previous felony convictions, which were presented at his trial. Evidence of a prior federal conviction for bank robbery was also shown to the jury.

According to federal court records, Hurdsman was indicted on six counts of bank robbery in October of 2002. He pleaded guilty to two of the counts – a Dec. 22, 2000, robbery of Texas Bank in Weatherford and a Feb. 1, 2001, robbery of Bank of America in Southlake. He was sentenced to 137 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

According to a Messenger archive story from Feb. 8, 2001, at the time of Hurdsman’s arrest, Southlake Police and FBI agents believed Hurdsman was the man called the “habitual bandit” because the suspect wore the same clothes in each of the robberies: dark blue jeans and jacket, running shoes, a dark cap and wrap-around sunglasses.

Hurdsman was released from federal prison in 2011, and his supervised release was ended a year early, in May of 2013, about nine months before the thefts at the gas processing plant and 10 months before the new string of bank robberies.

The trial for the newly-indicted federal bank robbery cases is currently set for May 6, 2019, in Little Rock.

STRING OF CRIMES

Robbery timeline alleged in the indictment

1. March 10 … Midfirst Bank, Norman, Okla.

2. March 10 … Prosperity Bank, Norman, Okla.

3. March 17 … First Merit Bank, Elmhurst, Ill.

4. March 17 … First Merit Bank, Western Springs, Ill.

5. March 28 … IBC Bank Edmond, Okla.

6. April 1 … Citizens National Bank, Red Oak, TX

7. April 1 … BBVA Compass Bank, Mesquite, TX

8. May 23 … Key Bank, Aurora, Colo.

June 16 … attempted to take latex gloves from K-Mart in Little Rock, Ark.

9. June 16 … Malvern National Bank, Benton, Ark.

10. June 26 … Wells Fargo, Lithia, Fla.

11. July 15 … Regions Bank, Round Rock, TX

12. Aug. 28 … Credit Union of Colorado, Parker, Colo.

13. Aug. 29 … TCF Bank, Colorado Springs, Colo.

14. Sept. 25 … Regions Bank, Round Rock, TX (same as the July 15 robbery)

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