ELYSIAN, Minn. (WCCO) — A 70-year-old Janesville, Minn. woman has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank in LeSueur County Wednesday afternoon and the 26-year-old man who drove her there, thinking that he was doing a good deed, ended up being her unsuspecting getaway driver.
According to the county sheriff’s office, Sandra Leanne Bathke has been taken into custody for allegedly robbing the Elysian State Bank. When she walked into the bank Wednesday afternoon, she looked like the typical customer.
“You don’t suspect an old lady,” said Jim Hansen, vice president of Elysian Bank.
Police said a bank teller claimed Bathke approached the counter and demanded money, claiming she had a gun.
“I told them, ‘Lock the bank.’ I ran to my pickup, and I caught up with them at the edge of town. I followed them, just wanted to see where they were going,” Hansen said.
Bathke was given an undisclosed amount of cash and was seen getting into a black car. It was later determined that the driver of the car was 26-year-old Luke Even Weimert.
Hansen followed the car to an apartment in Janesville, but noticed something strange. Weimert, the driver, wasn’t speeding or driving erratically.
“I started thinking, maybe the driver didn’t know it was happening,” said Hansen.
Turned out Hansen was right. Weimert, who faces unrelated charges in Blue Earth County, was trying to get rent payment from Bathke when he offered to drive her to the bank. When they arrived back at her apartment, Sheriff’s deputies and police were waiting.
“He was dumbfounded when he was taken down at gunpoint. She made a very wrong choice. Can’t go that route,” said Le Sueur County Sheriff Tom Doherty.
Bathke will not face federal charges. Sheriff Doherty said she will only face charges at the state and county levels.
Although Weimert claimed he didn’t know that Bathke planned to rob the bank, he was still taken into custody on an outstanding warrant from Blue Earth County.
WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik Reports