Cameron Arthur Thomas, 27, of Florissant is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly robbed a Shady Valley bank, led Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a chase, shot at an officer and barricaded himself and a woman in a High Ridge apartment complex on Wednesday (Oct. 28), court documents show.
Today (Oct. 29), the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Thomas with first-degree robbery, a class A felony; first-degree assault, a class A felony; first-degree kidnapping, a class A felony; first-degree burglary, a class B felony; unlawful use of a weapon, a class D felony; and three counts of the unclassified felony of armed criminal action, according to court records.
The Sheriff’s Office said Thomas was being held Oct. 29 in Jefferson County Jail without bail.
A class A felony is punishable by 10 to 30 years or a life sentence in prison. A class B felony carries a penalty of five to 15 years in prison, and a class D penalty is punishable by up to seven years in prison. The armed criminal action charges are punishable by three to 10 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.
Thomas was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday following a standoff at a High Ridge apartment complex, Bissell said.
Thomas allegedly had robbed a bank Wednesday morning in Shady Valley and then led deputies on a chase for about nine miles to the apartment complex, where shots were fired and the suspect temporarily barricaded himself in an apartment with a woman, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Bissell said the Sheriff’s Office recovered a gun they believe the man used to fire a shot at a deputy.
The deputy returned fire after the suspected bank robber allegedly fired a single shot at the officer. No one, including bystanders, was injured during the pursuit, shooting or arrest, Bissell said.
The pursuit began after 9:54 a.m. when the Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a bank robbery at First State Community Bank, 4555 Old Hwy. 21, in Imperial. Thomas allegedly pointed a .9-millimeter Jimenez Arms pistol at four bank employees and demanded money, a probable-cause statement said.
Bissell said moments after the robbery, a deputy saw a gray Mercedes with an Illinois license plate fleeing the bank on Old Hwy. 21.
Bissell said the FBI is handling the bank robbery investigation.
The deputy pursued the Mercedes onto northbound Hwy. 21. The suspect turned onto Hwy. 141 and traveled towards St. Louis County, Bissell said.
The Mercedes then traveled onto westbound Hwy. 30 towards High Ridge. A deputy put down a pair of spike strips on Hwy. 30, which disabled the car. Thomas got out of the car and ran to Emerson Road and into the Walden Pond Apartment complex off Walden Lane, according to the probable-cause statement.
“We are not sure why he entered the apartment, whether it was convenient or if he knows the area,” Bissell said Wednesday.
Thomas allegedly fired one shot at a deputy while running towards the apartment complex, and the deputy then returned fire, the report said.
Bissell said he did not know how many times the deputy fired his gun.
Thomas then began banging on doors in an apartment building, and one woman opened her door to find out what was going on. Thomas forced his way into her apartment by pointing a gun at her face, the probable-cause statement said.
He took the woman into a bedroom in the apartment. When police knocked on apartment doors searching for Thomas, he allegedly told the woman to answer the door and tell the deputies that she was the only person in the apartment, the report said.
The woman indicated to deputies that someone else was in the apartment when she answered the door, and she was safely removed from the apartment, according to the report.
Thomas stayed in the apartment for about 30 minutes. During that time, he was spotted on the apartment’s deck, allegedly holding a gun, the report said.
Sheriff’s Office personnel was able to enter the apartment and arrest Thomas without incident, the report said.
In earlier cases, Thomas had pleaded guilty to at least three felonies and was on five years probation after his latest guilty plea, court records show.
In October 2019, Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree assault stemming from a 2018 incident in St. Louis County. His sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation, court documents said.
In May 2012, Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and felony resisting arrest stemming from a 2011 incident in St. Louis County. He had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he was released early, according to court documents.
First State Community Bank also was robbed on Oct. 24. That robbery occurred at about 10:35 a.m., when a man entered First State Community Bank and allegedly gave a teller a note demanding money. He then provided the teller with a bag, Bissell said, and the teller put money in the bag.
The man then took the bag and note and left the building through the front doors. He got into a silver or gray vehicle and fled north on Old Hwy. 21, Bissell said.
Bissell said the Sheriff’s Office does not report how much money is stolen during robberies. He also said the Sheriff’s Office did not have information about what was written on the note or if the man threatened the teller.
“The circumstances, obviously, are similar, but I can’t say if it is the same person or not,” Bissell said Wednesday (Oct. 28).