Hood County News – October 8, 2001
Lipan residents don’t take kindly to people robbing their bank.
A stocking-headed Millsap man tried to get away Friday afternoon after robbing the First National Bank of Lipan of thousands of dollars, but a sharp-eyed Lipan woman spotted him fleeing the bank, called 911 and followed the getaway car. Based on information the woman provided, officers later snared the suspect in nearby Parker County.
Ten years earlier, a Whippoorwill Bay man disguised as a woman had held up the bank, but gun-toting Lipan residents chased him down.
Lipan marshal Sam Tipton praised the 21-year-old woman who spotted the bandit and called 911. If it hadn’t been for her, officers may not have caught the man, he said.
“I’m just glad that I saw it,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “I was so scared.” The woman said she had her 2 1/2-year-old daughter with her at the time.
Whitney Adam Luke, 28, was being held in Hood County Jail on a $20,000 bond for robbery. Luke apparently lived in the Lipan area at one time, said Tipton.
Luke reportedly has already served time for robbery, Tipton said. He was also reportedly fired from his job at a Weatherford auto dealership shortly before the robbery, Tipton stated.
With a nylon stocking over his head and dressed in a yellow raincoat, Luke went into the bank at 2:04 p.m., Tipton said. Tipton stated he had been in the bank himself just six minutes before the robbery.
Luke demanded money and threatened to kill the tellers. “They gave him all the cash drawers and he takes off,” Tipton said. Luke also made the tellers and customers in the bank lie on the floor before he left. There were about three tellers and one customer present during the robbery, stated Tipton.
Luke never displayed a weapon, Tipton said.
“It was Friday evening. All the stores had just made their deposits,” said Tipton.
The woman stated she was driving by the bank when she saw a man in a yellow raincoat and stocking over his face running from the bank.
“I saw the black nylon on his face and I realized the bank had been robbed,” said the woman. She watched as Luke got in his car.The woman pulled over and called 911 to report the robbery. She began following Luke’s car trying to get the license plate number.
From main street, the suspect took a shortcut down a Lipan residential street to reach FM Road 1189. He turned north and she followed him.
“I was just so scared, I wanted to stop,” the woman said. “I didn’t want to do it, but I just couldn’t let him go.” The woman said she wasn’t sure if Luke was armed or if he knew she was following him. “It was raining. I was driving fast. I was scared.”
The woman caught up with him as he got behind three slower-moving cars. However, he passed the cars then and she lost sight of him.
After the woman lost sight of the bandit, he turned onto Old Dennis Road and headed toward Dennis, Tipton said.
In the meantime, the alarm raised by the woman’s 911 call had brought officers pouring into the area, stated Tipton. Based on the woman’s reports, Parker County officers were waiting in Dennis when the suspect arrived, Tipton stated. Tipton estimated there were 20 officers waiting for Luke.
Luke was caught after he wrecked out his car, said Tipton. “They had him blocked in,” stated Tipton. “He wasn’t going anywhere.”
“It was over and done in 20 minutes,” Tipton said of the robbery and Luke’s arrest. “It didn’t last long.”
Tastefully dressed as a woman in a pink sweater, tan slacks and a scarf, a 22-year-old Whippoorwill Bay man held up the Lipan bank in February 1991.
However, after the robbery, the hapless bandit was chased all over Lipan by armed residents. They finally cornered him in a pasture and held him there until officers arrived.
Bank robberies are nothing new to Lipan.
On Jan. 8, 1926, six holdup men robbed the bank of $3,000 in cash and valuables. Justice of the Peace “Uncle Bob” Blair traded gunfire with the robbers and was wounded in the face by shotgun pellets, say historians. The suspects were later arrested.
Residents reported the bank was also robbed in either 1972 or 1973.