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Alleged bank robber doesn't get far after midmorning heist at Five Star Bank branch

By Howard B. Owens
Jan 18, 2014, 3:53pm

Philip Burrs Gregory Beardsley

It seems like such a simple plan. Walk into a bank, hand the teller a note, and walk out with a bag full of money.

Of course, the bank is in the midst of a city on a Saturday morning when traffic has both eastbound and westbound lanes snarled with cars, SUVs and semi-trucks. Your getaway vehicle is an easily identifiable older model maroon Plymouth minivan with Florida plates. Your driver may be high. He may not even know about your plan. The only available route out of town is a snow-and-slush covered Route 98 that has an Attica police officer always positioned at one end of the highway and is frequently patrolled by troopers.

What could possibly go wrong?

Enough, apparently, that the would-be alleged bank robber was in custody mere minutes after the heist was reported and the man who allegedly drove the minivan is facing a DWAI charge.

Gregory Beardsley, 29, of 220 W. Main St., Batavia, is the robbery suspect. He charged with grand larceny, 2nd, and robbery, 3rd.

Beardsley allegedly left the bank with $3,000 in cash. All of the money was recovered.

No weapon was displayed during the robbery, nor was there a threat of a weapon.

Philip Burrs, 32, the alleged driver, was arrested by State Police and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs or alcohol and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Whether Burrs is charged with any crimes related to the robbery hasn't been determined, Hill said. The investigation is continuing.

The robbery was reported to emergency dispatchers at 11:28 a.m.

Bank employees provided dispatchers with an exact description of the suspect's vehicle, including the license plate number.

"The tellers did a fantastic job at the bank getting all the information and getting it out to our dispatchers," Officer Eric Hill said.

A trooper spotted the car, which is not owned by either Breadsley nor Burrs, at 11:34 a.m. heading southbound on Route 98. 

A felony traffic stop was initiated by Trooper Micheal Hamilton with the assistance of an Attica police officer further south on Route 98 at the Mooch’s Auto Glass location.

The two suspects were taken into custody and placed in separate patrol vehicles.

While being questioned later, Burrs could be heard telling officers that he had no idea his passenger went into Five Star to rob it. He repeatedly said he knew nothing about the robbery.

Hill said Burrs has continued to maintain that he had no idea Beardsley planned a robbery and had no part in it.

Asked if this was a particularly brilliant robbery plan, Hill said he doesn't know what drove the suspect to try and steal money.

"I don't know," Hill said. "Desperation? You do some things you might not normally do, depending on the circumstances. I'm not exactly sure why he felt the need to rob the bank, but you know, obviously he's desperate for money for some reason. We're currently in the process of deposing him to find out what his side of the story is. I'm sure all of that will come out eventually."

CORRECTION: The article originally said Burrs was charged with DWI. He was charged with DWAI. 

Top Photo: Beardsley being transferred from one patrol vehicle to another at the traffic stop location on Route 98. Law enforcement officers are screening Beardsley from camera view.

The Five Star branch on West Main, Batavia, shortly after the robbery.

The scene of the stop on Route 98.

Sgt. John Szumigala and Officer Eric Hill with the suspected getaway minivan.

Deputy Brian Thompson and "Pharoah" sniff around the suspect vehicle.

Officer Eric Hill speaking with suspect Philip Burrs, who is out of the picture in the back of the State Police vehicle.

Gary Spencer

Let's see, Phil Burrs just got off parole the end of November, Beardsley is cuurntly on parole, and both are registered sex offenders!! Glad the police got these 2! Now throw away the damn key!!

Jan 18, 2014, 8:01pm Permalink
Bob Price

Maybe Mr.Beardsley needed some money for a tattoo next door........ you'd think he know what a cluster f**k the traffic is around that area,being he lives not far from it. Must be all these parolees lately want to get back in jail-life must be tougher on the outside of bars than inside.....hmmm-3 squares a day,tv,good health care,no taxes-better than most people.....

Jan 19, 2014, 7:42pm Permalink
Beth Kinsley

Good point Barb. I have to think that because many seem to be herded together in a few boarding houses in Batavia, that they are allowed to. And remember, once a sex offender is off probation/parole, they really don't have any additional rules/regulations other than the requirement that they register as sex offenders and keep their addresses updated with local law enforcement.

Jan 21, 2014, 11:25am Permalink

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