Another conversation turned darker.
"I've had four real good friends in my entire lifetime," Davis recalled Plummer saying. "I consider you one of them, Mike. Three of them committed suicide. You are the only one that's still alive, that I can come talk to about things."
"Hey, all right buddy," Davis said. "I'm not going to commit suicide."
"I'll tell you one thing. That's how I'm going out," Plummer said.
"How? What will you do?"
"I'll probably end up shooting myself."
Plummer told Davis about the bank robberies in the '80s and hinted that he had started robbing again.
"He said there was something in him that triggered him, that made him do it," Davis said. "It was like a fix or a drug."
"You ever get something in your head you want to do so bad you can't stand it? You've got to do it," Plummer said. "When I get it in me, I have to do it. I have to do it and nothing is going to stop me. I feel bad. I wouldn't hurt anyone."
"You have a gun," Davis, an ex-police officer, told him. "If you have a gun, you're going to use it. If you pull a gun, you're willing to hurt someone."
"Well, maybe not," Plummer said. "You might not know what you're saying there, Mike. Maybe I want to use the gun so someone would stop me from doing this. If someone else does this first, then I won't have to do it. It would be the best thing for me."
A detail-oriented robber
But in the first known robbery Plummer committed after resuming his life of crime, he did hurt someone.
On Feb. 6, 2007, Plummer robbed the Washington Federal Bank in Washington, Pa., said FBI agent Patrick McGlennon, who has recently been working on the Plummer case.
As Plummer left the bank with a bag full of money, an ex-Marine who had been in the drive-thru tried to stop him, McGlennon said.
Plummer wrestled with the man and ended up shooting him in the leg, McGlennon said.
"The wound wasn't life-threatening. It was superficial, and the bullet is still in his leg," McGlennon said. "He was clearly not trying to kill the guy. But he was desperate enough to disable someone trying to stop him from getting what he wanted to get."
Plummer's next known robbery was on Nov. 30, 2007. He robbed the Sewickley Savings Bank in Robinson Township in Allegheny County, Pa., McGlennon said.
Plummer was a very detail-oriented bank robber, McGlennon said.
"I don't think he ever approached a bank he hadn't scouted out in the past," he said.
The FBI is sending out details of Plummer's robberies to other branch offices, looking for other unsolved cases where Plummer may have been the culprit.
"There could be unsolved robberies attributable to him that we are not aware of," McGlennon said. "Any time you have a guy this prolific, you can guarantee that guy has stuff out there he doesn't want you to know about."
'I could make you happy'
After robbing the Washington Federal Bank, Plummer told Davis how a guy "had tried to play hero on him." Davis never knew when or where any of the robberies were located. He wouldn't let Plummer tell him.
Plummer told Davis he had a hard time getting away from the man, that the guy hurt him a little.
"See, you would shoot someone," Davis told him.
"I wouldn't kill someone though, I wouldn't," Plummer said.
It was around this time Plummer also told Davis what he did with some of the money from the robberies. Plummer said he hid some of it in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest. Plummer said he hid it away for later in life, so his kids could go to college.
Davis said he is certain Plummer buried money in other parks he frequented in West Virginia. Plummer told him he liked to go to the woods after he committed a robbery.
"That's where he would go to get serenity. To make his peace," Davis said. "He would go there and walk and walk. Maybe he was talking to God."
"I didn't ask where," Davis said. "I didn't want to be put in that position. I didn't want to know where anything was."
Plummer asked Davis if he would take care of the money if something happened to him. Davis refused.
"No. I don't want to know about any crimes, any places. You can tell me about the bank robberies. But I don't want to know where," Davis told him. "Then that puts me as an accessory. I can't go that far with this. Then I have to call the police. Then I'm almost like an accomplice. I can't be that."
"I could make you happy if you want me to, Mike," Plummer said.
"No, I don't want to know where there is any damn money," Davis said.
'Waiting for me to get the money'
The FBI believes it is more likely Plummer gambled most of the money away and used the rest to pay bills.
"You are looking at a guy who owes almost $100,000 in restitution. There are multiple past due and collection notices to insurance companies, to utilities. So here is a guy who has trouble paying his bills," McGlennon said. "I think a portion was used to keep things off his back. I don't think there is any huge amount of money out there that he would have access to in lean times. I don't think he stashed any large sums to see them through. I really don't."
If there is any money stashed away, the FBI doesn't have any evidence of it, McGlennon said.
Police found lottery tickets and tickets from the Wheeling dog track in his car, McGlennon said.
"I think personally, it was the lifestyle. It was spent as quick as he got it," McGlennon said. "Most people who rob banks continue to rob because they spend the money. You have very few who put it away for retirement."
Davis figures the FBI is watching him because of his friendship with Plummer. He said he hasn't been interviewed by them but would be happy to do so.
"I figure they are waiting for me to go get the money," he said. "If they want to talk to me, I'd love to talk to them. As far as insights, I wouldn't let him tell me amounts. I knew it was in the thousands."
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 348-5163.
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