One of the mid-Missouri men charged in a string of bank robberies appeared before a federal judge Monday morning. At the same time KRCG is learning more about the two alleged robbers, an unlikely duo. One is a high school honor student from Columbia, the other is a husband and father from rural Callaway County with just a minor history of stealing. It's not clear how the two came to know each other, but the FBI says what is clear is that the two were comitting a spree of robberies with escalating violence.
Michael Leak, 18, of Columbia and William Wolfe, 28, of Callaway County have been charged with three bank robberies and are suspected in a number of other robberies as well.The Callaway County Sheriff says until now, Wolfe's only run in with the law has been for a couple of minor stealing charges. And since all of the alleged crimes happened outside the county, Wolfe stayed under the radar of local law enforcement. The FBI says what led authorities to Wolfe and Leak was a car that was set on fire after a shoot-out with police. Investigators say a hidden VIN number on the car traced the car back to Wolfe's address.While the shootout after the Holden bank robbery was duo's most violent alleged crime, with police being shot at around 30 times, police say their crimes started two weeks earlier with the hold up of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restuarant in Boonville. Wolfe and Leak stole KFC's safe, cracked it open with a concrete saw, and split the $240 inside.
The next night police say the duo's first bank robbery attempt didn't go so well. Police say Wolfe broke a window at a bank in Blackburn, Mo., but the alarm immediately sounded and the pair drove away.The next three robberies were more successful, with over $42,000 stolen.Court documents show that Leak mainly drove the getaway car and entered just one of the banks with a gun. He later told investigators the gun wasn't even loaded. Authorities suspect Wolfe and Leak in other robberies.Earlier this month KRCG told viewers about $11,000 worth of cigarettes stolen from the Leatherwood Hills Little General Store in Boone County. Officials now suspect Wolfe and Leak in that incident after authorities found hundreds of cartons of cigarettes when Wolfe was arrested.Wolfe's preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday morning. Leak's preliminary will take place in Kansas City Tuesday afternoon.