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Bank robber jumps from bridge to avoid police

The St. Peters Police Department arrested 44-year-old Austin R. Denson, of Wentzville, on June 19 in connection with the robbery of the Gateway Metro Federal Credit Union in the 1400 block of Jungermann Road.

Following a tip from a St. Charles County business, St. Peters Police detectives attempted to take Denson into custody at his residence on the 600 block of Glenshee Drive in Wentzville. At approximately 5:30 p.m., the detectives spotted the suspect get into his maroon Pontiac G6. When they attempted to stop him, he fled the area.

Police pursued Denson down Interstate 64 to Interstate 270 and eventually onto Interstate 70. Denson stopped his car on the side of the Blanchette Bridge, exited the car and jumped into the Missouri River. He survived the fall and began floating northbound.

The St. Charles City Fire Department deployed three rescue boats with police officers from various agencies. Denson claimed he had a gun but did not produce it. After an hour in the river, Denson surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident; no weapon was located.

Denson was transported to an area hospital for an evaluation but did not appear to have any major visible injuries.

According to a St. Peters Police Department news release, the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office issued warrants on June 20 for three counts of robbery in the first degree, three counts of armed criminal action, felony resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a firearm. The prosecutor’s office issued robbery and armed criminal action for each teller Denson demanded money from within the Gateway Metro Federal Credit Union.

Denson has a prior felony charge, which makes it unlawful for him to possess a handgun. The handgun and approximately half of the stolen money has been recovered. Denson is being held on a $200,000 bond.

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