On Wednesday, January 2, around 8 a.m. Karsten Hardeman caused a disturbance at a local towing company where his vehicle was towed to from another local agency after an arrest. After causing the disturbance the Wentzville Police Department was notified and responded to the towing company. The responding officer being a former (Drug Task Force) officer with experience in drug investigations made contact with Hardeman and immediately discovered drugs and a large sum of money. While Hardeman was held for the misdemeanor drug violation the officer continued the drug investigation due to the large sum of money being suspicious. Further investigation lead officers to obtain a search warrant later that day of Hardeman’s vehicle. The search warrant revealed several items including two masks, computer and a cell phone. Utilizing new technology at our department we obtained information from his cell phone leading the direction of the investigation to robbery.
Shortly after being released on his misdemeanor drug charge, on the evening of Wednesday, January 2, the Wentzville Police Department received a call for a Bank Robbery at 1st Financial Credit Union located at 1232 Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville, MO 63385. They described a white male entered the bank and demand “$50,000 dollars.” The tellers complied and the subject fled the area on foot.
While enroute to the call one officer (knowing the bank is across the street from the police station) left on foot to towards the bank. Immediately after leaving the front door of the police station he observed a subject sitting on the curb in our police department’s parking lot. Simultaneously, dispatch was giving further information about the bank robbery call and the suspect’s description. The officer immediately noticed the descriptions were the same and made contact with the subject. As he made contact with the suspect and gave him verbal commands to see his hands the officer observed several 100 dollar bills falling from the pockets of his hooded sweatshirt. The subject was taken into custody and escorted inside the police department to their jail, fully identified and later charged. A national intelligence bulletin was issued from our department which revealed he was possible connected to bank robberies in Kansas and Texas.
Due to the outstanding work of all officers and dispatchers involved and the dedication to further investigate a small drug violation investigation this criminal was taken of the street.
On January 3, police obtained in custody warrants of Hardeman and he was charged with Robbery 1st and Stealing from a Financial Institution. The Wentzville Police Department is currently working with our local FBI office in partnership with agencies in Kansas and Texas assisting their investigations with other bank robberies. Hardeman was transferred to the St. Charles County Department of Corrections on his charges with a 100,000 cash only bond.