Arrested bank robber may have once received clemency

A suspect who was wanted in the robbery of three Southeast Texas banks was arrested today while trying to catch a cab at a Beaumont mall.

John Steven Stark, 46, was arrested outside Parkdale Mall shortly after the nearby Prosperity Bank was held up around 9:15 this morning, a Beaumont Police Department news release said. Stark, who was listed on a driver license database as having a Huntsville address, was stopped after entering the taxi at a front mall entrance. Police said Stark was arrested without incident and had a large amount of cash on him.

A tease line on the Beaumont Enterprise Web site this evening said it all: “Talk, Dark, and Handcuffed,” referring to the name given by police and media to the robber of the “Tall, Dark and Handsome Bandit.” The alleged robber was shown in surveillance photos dressed neatly and wearing sunglasses on the top of his head during robberies at the Bank of America on Calder Avenue in Beaumont on Jan. 30 and the Comercia Bank off Southwest Freeway in Houston on Feb. 2.

Beaumont police said an employee at the Prosperity Bank this morning was able to see the silver Toyota Corolla Stark was driving and gave police a license plate number. Officers found the car in the mall parking lot and set up surveillance of the car while other officers searched inside the mall.

A criminal database indicated Stark, who previously resided in Rye, Texas, in Polk County, had previous arrests for forgery and aggravated robbery. Those records showed Stark had been paroled and received and unspecified type of clemency.

Just a note, since I have written about this guy I figured that I would follow-up with his arrest. The clemency found in his criminal records is interesting since the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says:

 “The governor has the authority to grant clemency upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Clemency includes full pardons, conditional pardons, pardons based on innocence, commutations of sentence, and emergency medical reprieves.”

It may be something innocuous but could be as well something to make one say: “Hmm.”