Alleged bank robber charged in federal court

Matthew Thomas Pettigrew

A man suspected of robbing a local bank recently has been charged in federal court.

Matthew Thomas Pettigrew, 40, was charged by criminal complaint with "Bank Robbery in Indian Country."

Pettigrew is accused of robbing the Citizens Bank location inside of Walmart in Ada, 1419. N. Country Club Rd. on Nov. 15.

Pettigrew entered the store at around 6 p.m., and reportedly handed a bank teller a note advising the teller to place "all the cash" in an envelope. The teller complied, and the suspect left without incident.

In a federal court document, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Matthew Scalisi wrote, “… at approximately 5:58 p.m., Ada Walmart security footage showed Pettigrew parking a black Chevrolet truck in the parking lot. Pettigrew entered the Walmart, and at approximately 6:05 p.m., Pettigrew is observed on video footage wearing a medical mask, approaching a Citizens Bank teller, and handing the teller a note. The note read "need all cash placed into envelope now." 

The note had printing scratched out on top of it. The Teller handed over $8,200 to Pettigrew, and, at approximately 6:07 p.m., Pettigrew departed the Walmart. Pettigrew was observed entering the same black Chevrolet truck and departing the premises. The Teller advised no threats were made by Pettigrew, and no weapons were visible during the bank robbery. Pettigrew appeared to be alone.”

Scalisi said the teller was scared and shaking during her encounter with Pettigrew. Ada police, Pontotoc County sheriff's deputies, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, Walmart loss prevention officers, Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse police and FBI agents responded.

While investigating, Pontotoc County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Walker located the suspect’s vehicle just north of the county line in Seminole County.

According to a report by Walker, while reviewing video footage of the robbery and getaway, Deputy Ashley Trower recognized the suspect's vehicle as one she had seen earlier in the evening at the Murphy's gas station before parking in the Walmart parking lot.

"Deputy Trower and myself relocated to Murphy's, and were able to review the camera footage of the suspect," Walker said in the report. "I immediately recognized the suspect as being Matthew Pettigrew due to my previous involvements with him. We were also able to get a clear picture of the Chickasaw tag ... displayed on the suspect's vehicle."

Walker said the address associated with the tag belonged to Pettigrew's mother.

Walker checked with Pettigrew's mother, then later checked Pettigrew's apartment, but did not locate the suspect.

"After checking a few locations, I decided to check at the Rivermist casino," Walker said. "I located the suspect's vehicle at the Rivermist casino parked near the west door. I then contacted Ada Police Detective David Cowans and FBI Agent Matt Scalisi and let them know that I located the truck. 

"I contacted Seminole Lighthorse to ask for their assistance due to the Rivermist being out of my jurisdiction. Seminole Lighthorse arrived and we entered the casino. I located Matthew Pettigrew along with his girlfriend inside playing the games. Matthew and (his girlfriend) were taken into custody without further incident."

Walker said Pettigrew's mother gave FBI agents consent to search her truck, which had reportedly been used in the robbery.

The clothes, shoes, shirt and the note that the suspect was seen wearing during the robbery were located inside the truck," Walker said. "I transported Pettigrew to the Pontotoc County Justice Center and placed a hold on him for the FBI."

A total of $4,716.31 was recovered from Pettigrew and his girlfriend, and Scalisi said both denied any involvement in the bank robbery, and claimed that Pettigrew had hit a “jackpot" while at a previous casino and decided to go to Rivermist Casino to keep gambling.

Pettigrew’s girlfriend has not been charged in the case.

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