Stimulus Check: Houston Thief Uses Lack of Coronavirus Payment to Justify Bank Robbery

Houston police are looking for a man who allegedly robbed a bank and left behind a letter claiming he needed the money because he lost his business and did not get a stimulus check from the government. The man walked into the bank on July 8 and gave the teller a crumpled piece of paper with his demands, police said. The stimulus check included in the $2.1 trillion CARES Act passed in March was a one-time payment for at least $1,200 to qualifying Americans.

The robbery happened at the Woodforest National Bank on Hillcroft Avenue in Houston, police said. the man entered the bank shortly after it opened and asked a teller to make a withdrawal. He handed the teller a crumpled, folded piece of paper. "I didn't get a stimulus or that 10k loan," the letter read. "I lost my business to COVID so please make this easy and comply. I don't wanna hurt nobody but will if I have to. Any suspicious moves and I will start shooting so please go get my money. Don't make anything noticeable!" The suspect then asked for cash.

The teller said she did not see a weapon but still gave the man cash out of fear for her life. The suspect grabbed the money and ran out of the bank. He was caught on surveillance cameras and is described as a Black male in his 30s, standing 6'0" and a "large frame." He wore a black bandanna to cover his face and a black hoodie over his head. He also wore a black True Religion brand "letterman"-style jacket with "02" and "TR" on the front. The back has a tiger with TR and "True Rgln" written in the letters. Anyone with information is asked to contact Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477) or at crime-stoppers.org. There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest or charging.

The CARES Act's economic impact payment of $1,200 was sent to Americans who field their 2018 or 2019 taxes and earned $75,000 or less. Couples who file together and earn a combined $150,000 or less were eligible to receive $2,400. Dependents under 17 years old received $500, added to the payment sent to the taxpayer who claimed them. Some Americans who do not usually file taxes were also eligible for a payment.

Congress is still working on another coronavirus stimulus package, which could include a stimulus check. If that happens, it could be more targeted towards low-income Americans than the first, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested only Americans making $40,000 or less would be eligible. The Senate will take on the issue when it gets back in session next week.