Harold Hendrick: In 1992 Bro. Boogie was sentenced to 10 years in a Federal Prison for two armed bank robberies in the St. Louis area. You are a minister of prisoners today. How did you go from bank robber to minister to fellow prisoners?
The reason I got involved in prison ministry is that I got involved in things that would lead you to prison. What led me to prison was that I used to be addicted to gambling in a very serious, serious way. I used to go to the Fairmount and Cahokia Race Tracks and would be over there every day that they was running I was so addicted to gambling. Do you remember in the 1980s they had a real bad snow storm on a Saturday night? I was the only person in the state of Missouri who was trying to find his way to the race track, thinking that maybe the horses would be running. That is how addicted I was.
Harold: You thought they might have the race even though they had 26 inches of snow.
Bro. Boogie: When you are into addiction, and because you've got that addiction upon you, you don't think like normal people. I am saying to myself, "They can run," "They need to run because I want to go over there." I couldn"t make it.
Harold: That's another concern we have around here. The studies and facts now show that when there is a saturation of gambling opportunities, you get more addicted gamblers. You were addicted, though, before the casinos came in.
Bro. Boogie: Thank God that the Lord put me in prison, and that the casinos wasn't around because I was acting crazy and robbing banks, and going to another state. I don't know what I would have done, Harold, if the gambling boats was right here in my own back yard.
Harold: What the studies and facts show that when there is opportunity everywhere, we get what we are getting. Everyone of us has a friend or a friend of a friend who has been ruined since the casinos came to the region. Are you telling me that your compulsive gambling triggered your moving into bank robbing?
Bro. Boogie: Right. I was so desperate for money that I would beg, borrow or steal money just to support my gambling habit. I was into nothing but self and didn't care about no one else. I had a family and it didn't make no difference. When you have that addiction, people are just into themselves, they are self-centered, they don't care about nothing except feed that addiction. And feeding that addiction was gambling. People say how could you get so involved, how could you get hung up like that? Because I was in the world, that's how I got hung up like that. This is how the devil works. He will fascinate you then he will assasinate you. I got hung up in the bright lights and the thought of having money, and the thought of having ladies in my life and cars. At that time I wasn't into the word of God, so I wasn't trying to live according to the word of God, I was trying to live according to the world of the devil and that is how I got hung up.
Harold: You were not wronged in the court system.
Bro. Boogie: No. I am not like some people that say they was wronged. No, I did everything that they said I did. In fact, I was saying I was not guilty only because I hadn't gotten saved. I got saved when I was going through the system in jail. I got saved at Springfield Medical Center in Springfield. It was there I got saved and the first phone call I made was to my lawyer. I says, "This is Mike Anders (sp?) and I want to change my plea to guilty." She says why? I says because I am guilty. But more importantly I have given my life to the Lord and I am a Christian now and I got to do what's right and I am guilty. So we don't need no trial.
Harold: I am thinking we are hearing the real evidence of repentance and honesty when you face yourself and say this is who I am and what I am. That's very impressive.
Bro. Boogie: I even went so far cause there was several thousand dollars my lawyer was trying to get for me, and I told her don't try to get it, that money did come from the bank robbery. I had said that money didn't come from the bank robbery, and she was trying to make a motion in the court to get it for me. I said don't make no more motions to get that $3,000 for me, cause that money did come from the bank robbery.
Harold: We could stop the program right now and just let that reality sink in, that when a person is in Christ, really, there is a heart change. Your heart changed and you went from denial of the sin you knew you were guilty of to admitting it. You backed away from trying to get money that wasn't yours and I am telling you that should speak volumes that Jesus changes lives and your changed and you're my brother.
Bro. Boogie: People say prison changed me, and I say no, Jesus changed me. Prison was the place the change took place.
Harold: Boogie and I met when we were working on this event at the Friendly Temple Church location with Pastor Michael Jones. We had about on that wintry day last December we had about 300. And they say we had a great balance of white and black.
Bro. Boogie: It was the spirit of the Lord there and that is what was so important.
Harold: Isn't it true, Boogie, that if we could all get right with God, that is the root of all this racial divide. We are distinctive, yet as far as the hostility and the getting rid of it , the love and interaction between the races, Jesus is the answer to that, too.
Bro. Boogie: Because He said, "By this you shall know that you are my disciples, but the love you have for one another." Blacks, whites and any color have the capability of sewing love regardless of what color you are.
Harold: I want to get to the fact that you said prison was the location of this remarkable change. Can you give us some of the details about the experience in prison.
Bro. Boogie: I have to say, especially when I go around speaking, when I be talking to churches, that I talk to the young people. I says bad things happen to people in prison, prison is not no joke young people. I've seen everything that could happen, I've seen what a baseball bat could do to a man's skull. I've seen this. I saw what a cue ball could do to a man's skull. I saw men in heat like dogs running after another man. I seen a man who almost got raped and it started almost a riot in prison. A bunch of men was after him for sexual purposes. I remember this one man that had a gambling habit in prison and he didn't pay his bookie, and his bookie sent some of his boys over to his cell and how they cut up this man so bad his mother couldn't have recognized him.
Harold: Did he live?
Bro. Boogie: No. All because he didn't pay his gambling debt. Here I am in prison and when I first went in, I wasn't saved, and I still had some gambling hang ups. So I thank God that He came into my life and got rid of that.
Harold: What impacted you? You say you robbed a couple of banks. Was it armed robbery?
Bro. Boogie: Armed robbery. Believe it or not I had an empty Smith & Wesson. It was empty. People say, "Why was the your gun empty?" The reason I tell people was because I knew I had hit rock bottom in my life, but I knew I could never hurt you. I knew I couldn't take your life. I didn't want the gun to even accidentally go off. So I took the bullets out. The first bank I robbed was in Clayton, broad daylight, 9 o'clock in the morning. It was the Boatmen's, remember the old Boatmen's? What was so unique about that bank was that on one side of the bank was the County Police Department and on the other side was the Clayton Police Department. Here Brother Boogie, in the middle of the lobby, with an empty Smith & Wesson talking about "Lets get busy." Now you know I had to be crazy.
Harold: Did you get out of the bank?
Bro. Boogie: I got out with $6,500. I ran a red light because I didn't want to miss the first race at the racetrack.
Harold: So you have a mix of a bank robbery situation and a compulsive gambling situation kind of converging there. You ran a red light, did you get caught?
Bro. Boogie: I ran a red light, I didn't want to miss the first race, trying to get to the racetrack. Huh-uh, I wasn't caught. In fact, if I didn't rob a second bank, I would never have gotten caught. It was a year before bank jobs.
I need to tell people how bad I used to be so I can give God the glory for how good He is. I could tell you how sick I was, and I couldn't tell you how good God was when He delivered me.
Harold: Boogie, how did you get that name?
Bro. Boogie: It is a name I had since I was a kid. I was always just Boogie. But only when I got saved did the Brother come along. I was on my way to chapel service and some of my Christian brothers saw me and they say, "Here comes Brother Boogie." And I've been Brother Boogie ever since.
Harold: How long did the $6500 last you?
Bro. Boogie: It lasted for a while. It lasted two days. It lasted for a while--gambling.
Harold: Let's go ahead with information on the second robbery.
Bro. Boogie: I can remember that I said that I would never rob a Mercantile. The reason was my wife at that time was working for the Mercantile. She didn't know what I was doing--I would never rob the Mercantile, right? She's been there almost 30 years. Well, the devil said to me, "Hey, we got to go up here to the Mercantile." And when the devil spoke to me, I was a good follower of the devil, and I said OK, the Mercantile got to go. I robbed the Mercantile up on the Hill, of all the banks. This time I got $10,000. And Harold, I said these words, "I am going to be a professional bank robber." The only reason I didn't become a serial bank robber is because I got caught after that one.
Harold: How long was the interval of after you robbed the bank and when you got caught?
Bro. Boogie: Two weeks.
Harold: Just detective work?
Bro. Boogie: They got lucky. In fact, to be honest with you, when I robbed the first bank robbery, I went back to work the next day in Clayton and they stopped me as a possible suspect. They had me in the Clayton jail and they let me go.
When I first went to court, I pleaded not guilty. Then I got sick when I was in the County Jail and then they sent me to the Federal Medical Center in Springfield and that's where the Lord came into my life.
Harold: Had you been convicted, had you been to trial?
Bro. Boogie: I hadn't even been to trial yet because I got sick. Every Thursday there was a prison ministry that came into Springfield called Yoke (sp?) Fellows. There was this inmate brother that would come down to my cell and says, "Boogie, why don't you come to church and enjoy the services." I says no I don't want to go. He asked me about 5 times. The only reason I went was , I was kind of like the old lady and the king, she kept on pestering the king. I'll go and he'll stop bothering me. I went after the fifth time he asked me. Harold, I am going to be honest with you. There was some things in there they was talking about that sounded good to me. The preacher was talking about a man named Jesus and He said He would never leave you, nor would He forsake you. Now, that was good news to me because now I am locked up, my wife's divorced me, my friends left me, and here is a man saying He would never leave me. And then he ran over to Matthew 12 where he starts saying, "Come unto Me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Harold, don't you know when you are in prison, you are under labor and you need rest. This sound good to me. The following Thursday, I went by his cell and I says, "Are we going to church tonight?" He jumped up and says "Hallelujah." We went down to the prison ministry service. And I am just gonna be honest with you, it was there when the Spirit of the Lord came upon me right there in that service. I just think if that brother hadn't been consistent sewing those seeds. I need to tell somebody out there in that radio listening audience, don't be discouraged. I know you been planting some seeds and probably wondering what good is it going to do. But don't be discouraged. Just keep throwing those seeds. God's gonna give the increase. You may not see it now brothers and sisters, but that's all right. You just don't be discouraged, cause if that brother had gotten discouraged and stopped asking, I don't know where my life would of been. I go and I tell people that I cried out. But in this time I cried out in a different way. I cried out like in Jeremiah 29:11-14 where he says you shall find me when you seek me with your heart and for the first time in my life, I cried out for the Lord with my heart. I didn't cry out to Buddha, I didn't cry out to Mohammed, I cried out to Jesus Christ, the son of the living God and instantly my life was changed--instantly. All that baggage and luggage that I had with the addiction and womanizing and every sin you can think of --instantly the Lord delivered me right there on the spot. People say didn't you go to a 12-step program for your addiction, I say, no, I went to the one-step program, I took that one step to Jesus Christ and instantly he took away all those addictions. So Brother Boogie, you saying that you was in recovery, No, God don't deal in recovery, God deals with deliverance. I am here to tell you, I don't deal with recover with nobody in terms of addiction, God is able to deliver you.
After I got saved, I got serious about the Lord. I took correspondence courses, I got up early and prayed and meditated and studied the word of God everyday and became a mighty witness for the Lord right there in prison. Because of that the Lord found favor with me. And because he found favor with me, the court said I was going to get out in 2001, but because the Lord found favor with me, we had an opportunity to get a sentence reduction, the judge took off so much of my time. He was not away that I had a change of heart, he only knew that I had a good record and my lawyer told him that I wasn't the same, and I got a sentence reduction. I was supposed to get out of prison in 2001, but because the Lord found favor, I came back to St. Louis, went to Federal court for sentence reduction, I had six years left, he took off everything but a year, and because I had a year of good time, that came off, so I was out. I walked out of prison February, 1996. The law said 2001, but grace and mercy stepped in and said we want out not, the 9th of February, 1996, as a new man in Christ.
I was only in 4 years. I went in in 1992. Not only did he find favor with me, but I called my wife and she thought I had escaped from prison and told me she didn't want nothing to do with me, I'll run through this kind of fast. I said, look I didn't escape, meet me, I want to talk to you and tell you I am a new creature in Christ. I met her in broad daylight at the Union Train Station. She listened to me and said, I am glad you are saved, but leave me alone cause you wrecked my life. I prayed over it and next think I know I got a phone call from her on the second of July. She says, Michael, I know tomorrow is your birthday, and if you're not doing anything, I would like to take you out. I said just a second, I put the phone down and said "Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus." We got remarried the 27th of September 1997 and God is the head of our life and our marriage. We've got a great marriage because God is the head of our marriage now. Hallelujah.
Harold: Do you have children. We don't have none. But I have Mike Jr. from my previous marriage, and I have two daughters from outside of my marriage. And all three of them are living here in St. Louis. My son has Muscular Dystrophy, I tell people the doctor say he wouldn't live to see 19. The Lord found favor with him, he just turned 30 years old. He'll be 31 this year.
Brother Boogie's ministry:
Mike Anders' Ministry
P.O. Box 10974
St. Louis, MO 63135