FORMER CPD SGT. MIKE TINDALL HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ROBBING A CONROE BANK IN 2008.
(HOUSTON) – A federal jury has convicted a 22-year veteran of the Conroe Police Department for robbing the First Bank of Conroe, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The verdict was announced today in open court after four weeks of trial and three hours of deliberation.
Michael Edward Tindall, 48, of Conroe, Texas, a 22-year veteran of the Conroe Police Department, was convicted of one count of bank robbery, 18 U.S.C. 2113(a), for robbing the First Bank of Conroe on Aug. 11, 2008. United States District Judge Melinda Harmon, who presided over the four-week trial, revoked Tindall’s bond immediately following the return of the verdict and ordered Tindall into the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending sentencing.
On Aug. 11, 2008, a male wearing a white motorcycle helmet covering his face entered and robbed the First Bank of Conroe of approximately $28,000. During the trial, the jury heard that upon entering the bank the robber yelled to the tellers, “BOTTOM DRAWERS,” a term known and understood by bank insiders. That statement lead a victim teller to advise agents and officers investigating the robbery that the voice of the robber sounded similar to the voice of Tindall, a police officer who had worked security at the bank for 19 years. Further investigation by the FBI and review of the bank robbery video lead to Tindall as a suspect in the case. The jury heard from co-workers, friends and family members who identified Tindall as the robber through mannerisms, gait and clothing even though he was wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of the robbery. The helmet worn by the robber was identified by Conroe Police Officers as similar to one worn by Tindall during the Conroe Kidz Fest. After an extensive FBI investigation, Tindall was arrested on March 24, 2009.
During trial, the jury heard about the FBI’s investigation leading to the arrest of Tindall. Testimony at trial established that prior to the bank robbery, Tindall experienced personal financial distress evidenced by overdrafts, extensive credit card debt and potential utility interruptions. The jury heard extensive testimony about Tindall’s purchases and unexplained influx of cash deposits made to his bank account on the day of the robbery and in the following weeks.
The jury also heard that Tindall had surreptitiously used his police radio to monitor police activity before, during and after the bank robbery. Tindall also used his police vehicle to locate and steal license plates from what was thought to be an abandoned truck. Recorded GPS evidence showed Tindall’s police vehicle in the location of the abandoned truck two days before the robbery. The license plates from the abandoned truck were partially seen by a bank teller while she pursued the bank robber and were put on a rental car to deceive the eyewitnesses. Eventually, based upon a description of the car as seen on video, the car was traced to Enterprise Leasing in Conroe, Texas. Records from Enterprise proved Tindall had rented a car similar to that seen in the video of the bank robbery. Tindall returned the vehicle to Enterprise approximately 20 minutes after the robbery.
On the day of Tindall’s arrest, FBI agents searched his residence which included Tindall’s detached garage. There, FBI agents found a white motorcycle helmet that appeared to match the motorcycle helmet seen in the bank robbery video. During trial, the jury heard testimony from an imaging analysis scientist for NASA who examines the Space Shuttle for “anomalies” during orbit before reentry. The expert identified two unique marks on the robber’s helmet in the video. He told the jury, that the markings on the helmet in the video were “highly correlated” to the helmet seized from Tindall’s garage on the day of his arrest.
Tindall faces a up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine at sentencing. Judge Melinda Harmon has set sentencing for June 25, 2010.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and the Conroe Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Kebharu H. Smith and Joe Porto tried the case.
March 26, 2009
HOUSTON- Conroe Police Sgt. Michael E. Tindall, charged with robbing First Conroe Bank on Aug. 11, 2008, was arraigned in Houston on Wednesday before federal magistrate Frances Stacy and later released on $100,000 bond, with multiple stipulations.
Tindall’s parents, Norman and Margie Tindall, were cosigners on the bond. The family has 48 hours to deposit $5,000 in the registry. If Tindall fails to appear at upcoming proceedings, they will owe the balance of $95,000 plus other possible penalties.
Tindall told the court he lived at his Conroe apartment for two years with his fiancé, who sat watching with his parents. His attorneys approached the bench to discuss his living arrangements, and then Judge Stacy said if Tindall planned to move, it needed to be soon and the court should be informed.
His attorney, Robert Scardino, later said Tindall would be moving and may live with his parents. Scardino said he felt the move would be in his client’s best interest.
Scardino, who is a topnotch Houston-based federal criminal defense attorney, criticized the evidence against Tindall listed in the federal complaint.
“This is a weak case, because the evidence against him is circumstantial, at best,” Scardino said.
He repeatedly pointed out that the witnesses’ identification was made based on their impressions of a man’s voice and mannerisms in full motorcycle gear, speaking through a helmet.
“Frankly, this is awfully weak to be accusing a career police officer of this,” Scardino said.
He said Tindall was “obviously, extremely upset” and the immediate plan was to get him “some help,” starting with getting him released and trying to get some stability.
Scardino characterized Tindall’s family as “very supportive, rock solid, and behind him 100 percent.”
Tindall and his family left the federal courthouse around 4 p.m.
Among the conditions of Tindall’s release were:
-wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle at all times
-cannot leave the Southern District of Texas without permission
-can only leave home for reasons such as medical care, religious services, or employment
-home phone cannot have call waiting or call forwarding
-surrender his passport
-no contact with any potential witnesses including employees of First Bank of Conroe or the Conroe Police Department
-surrender all firearms to the government or a family member where he has no access
-must seek and then maintain employment
-employment may not be related to security or law enforcement
-submit to required drug testing, and random urinalysis
-any change of address must be approved by the court
-if required, inpatient or outpatient psychiatric or medical examination