ST. LOUIS (AP) — An eastern Missouri attorney and businessman pleaded guilty Monday to federal bank robbery charges, admitting he was responsible for three heists last summer and that he shot a Missouri state trooper.
Warren J. Gladders, 64, of Wentzville, Missouri, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sentencing is Oct. 16.
Federal prosecutors say Gladders robbed a Reliance Bank branch in Creve Coeur, Missouri, of $7,000 on July 7, 2013; the First National Bank in Weldon Spring, Missouri, of $5,000 on Aug. 2; and the First Bank of Dutzow, Missouri, of $43,000 on Sept. 20.
In all three cases, Gladders showed a gun. Following the third robbery a witness saw Gladders speeding away and contacted police. A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper gave chase and forced Gladders to pull over.
Gladders shot the trooper in the chest, but a bulletproof vest saved him. The trooper fired warning shots at Gladders, who surrendered.
Authorities said search warrants of his vehicle, home and business found items used in the robberies, including a sawed-off shotgun.
"Because of the heroic actions of the Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper and an observant witness, a dangerous criminal was removed from our community," said Edward W. Reinhold, acting special agent in charge of the FBI office in St. Louis.
A message seeking comment was left for Gladders' attorney.
Gladders still is facing state charges of robbery, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a weapon and assault of a law enforcement officer. Arraignment in that case is scheduled for Tuesday.
Public records show Gladders grew up in the affluent St. Louis suburb of Ladue and graduated from the John Burroughs School. He graduated from Colgate University in upstate New York and the Washington University School of Law.
He asked the Missouri Bar in 2012 to have his license classified as inactive and it complied, according to the organization.
Until his arrest, Gladders was president of Apex Laundry and Dry Cleaning Equipment Co. in St. Louis County.