Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

ISP Logo

For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  DCI Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Friday, September 24, 2010
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Local Contact: Special Agent Jeff Uhlmeyer (319) 385-9261

Mt. Pleasant, IOWA --- Morris D. Thompson III, age 26, and Ryan N. Zasareti, age 21, both of Humboldt, Illinois have been charged with multiple crimes related to the August 9, 2010, bank robberies in Ottumwa and Mt. Pleasant and the September 16, 2010, bank robbery in Mt. Pleasant.

On August 9, 2010, at approximately 9:46 a.m., the Community First Credit Union in Ottumwa, Iowa was robbed. Just over 4 hours later at approximately 2 p.m., the Wayland State Bank in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa was robbed. The surveillance cameras at both banks captured the robberies and showed that the suspects were wearing identical clothing during both robberies.

On September 16, 2010, at approximately 9:55 a.m., the Wayland State Bank in Mt. Pleasant was robbed again. While responding to the robbery, an Iowa State Trooper spotted a red Ford van traveling eastbound on Highway 34 near New London, Iowa. The State Trooper had no probable cause to stop the vehicle, but did record the license plate number and supplied the information to the DCI. The vehicle was determined to be registered to Cory Pierce of Mattoon, Illinois. With the assistance of the Mattoon Police Department, it was determined that Pierce had allowed Morris Thompson to use the van on several occasions over the past few months. One of those occasions was on September 16, 2010. On that day, Thompson had taken the van in the early morning hours and returned it that same afternoon. It was also learned that Ryan Zasareti had been with Thompson on September 16, 2010 and that the two men had traveled to Southeast Iowa.

On September 21, 2010, investigators with the DCI, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, Ottumwa Police Department and the Mattoon, Illinois Police Department served search warrants on several residences in Humboldt, Illinois where Thompson and Zasereti were known to reside. In addition, Zasareti was taken into custody and charged in relation to the Ottumwa bank robbery. Zasereti waived extradition and was transported back to Iowa. Originally Thompson could not be located.

On September 22, 2010, it was learned that Thompson had purchased a vehicle in Decatur, Illinois. The next day, the Illinois State Police spotted Thompson in this vehicle and a multi-county pursuit ensued, which included several different Illinois law enforcement agencies. During the high speed chase, Thompson lost control of his vehicle and was apprehended after a short foot chase. He is currently being held in the Coles County Illinois Jail awaiting extradition. Kentucky officials and the FBI continue to investigate similar bank robberies in Louisville, Kentucky that occurred on August 17, 2010.

The two men have been charged with the following crimes related to the bank robberies in Ottumwa and Mt. Pleasant on August 9, 2010 and September 16, 2010.


Morris Thompson Photograph

Wapello County Charges:

  • Aiding & Abetting Robbery 1st Degree, a class "B" Felony

Henry County Charges:

  • Ongoing Criminal Conduct, a class "B" Felony
  • Robbery in the 2nd Degree, a class "C" Felony (2 counts)
  • Theft in the 1st Degree, a class "C" Felony
  • Theft in the 2nd Degree, a class "D" Felony

Ryan N. Zasareti

Morris Thompson Photograph

Wapello County Charges:

  • Robbery 1st Degree, a class "B" Felony

Henry County Charges:

  • Ongoing Criminal Conduct, a class "B" Felony
  • Aiding & Abetting Robbery 2nd Degree, a class "B" Felony (2 counts)
  • Aiding & Abetting Theft 1st Degree, a class "C" Felony
  • Aiding & Abetting Theft 2nd Degree, a class "D" Felony

These charges stem from a joint multi-jurisdictional investigation which focused on leads from the surveillance and security systems at the financial institutions that were robbed along with other leads that were developed by law enforcement.

The following law enforcement agencies assisted with the investigation:

  • Ottumwa Police Department
  • Mt. Pleasant Police Department
  • Henry County Sheriff's Office
  • Iowa State Patrol
  • Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Illinois Agencies
    • Mattoon Police Department
    • Arthur Police Department
    • Arcola Police Department
    • Charleston Police Department
    • Decatur Police Department
    • Lovington Police Department
    • Sullivan Police Department
    • Illinois State Police
    • Coles County Sheriff's Office
    • Coles County Crisis Response Unit
Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

                                                                            Facebook        Twitter

To enroll in the DPS E-mail Notification system simply log on to and follow the instructions to enroll as a new user.