By Robb Murray
---- — MANKATO — In the heat of pursuit, with a team of State Troopers and sheriff's deputies gaining on him on Waseca County Road 85, the man on the run with a bag of stolen money in the passenger's seat decided to make a phone call.
George Richard Gaunt, 25, pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.
He told the dispatcher he was the one who just robbed the bank and that there were State Troopers chasing him. He was calling in, he told the dispatcher, because he didn't want to get shot when he pulled over.
Gaunt didn't get shot. But he did get arrested. That happened Tuesday. And on Thursday, Gaunt of Louisville, Ky., was formally charged in Blue Earth County District Court with three counts of aggravated robbery, three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, and two weapons charges based on prior convictions (one juvenile case and one adult case.)
Court documents show Gaunt arrived at the bank just before 10 a.m. Tuesday. He'd been seen by bank employees milling around a counter, looking at pamphlets. One employee even approached him to see if he needed help. Gaunt declined, saying he wasn't ready yet.
Eventually he approached one of the bank tellers and handed her a note that read, “I have a gun, this is no joke I will kill you! Act normal, no alarms, trackers or dye packs. P.S. This ain't my first bank. So don't make me kill again.” He also pulled back his shirt to reveal a gun tucked in near his right hip.
The teller complied and asked one of her managers to help her. Together, the two filled a cloth sack with money and gave it to Gaunt.
Gaunt left the bank, got into a gold car and sped away.
Bank employees called police, and within seconds a description of Gaunt's car was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies. It didn't take long for a State Trooper to spot it, and the chase was on.
Within minutes, the Waseca County Sheriff's Department joined the chase, and that's when Gaunt made his mid-high-speed-chase 911 call. Gaunt pulled over, and officers arrested him at gunpoint without incident. Responding officers said they observed an off-white cloth bag, a black handgun and a baseball-style hat sitting in the front passenger seat and a cloth backpack in the back seat.
One officer — who spoke with Gaunt as Gaunt sat in the backseat of a squad car — said Gaunt told him, “I'm gonna tell you now, the FBI is looking for me anyway, so you're wasting your time.”
After that, Gaunt asked for a lawyer and didn't say anything else to authorities.
Inventory of the car included a bag of money, with precisely the same amount of money the bank said was taken, and a Daisy Powerline 340 Air Pistol, which authorities say resembles a 9 mm Beretta pistol. A review of Gaunt's criminal record shows a prior adult burglary conviction.