Jul 30, 2014

Hopkins Not Included in Charges Against 'Man in Black' Suspect

Mark Edward Wetsch has been charged with 13 counts of armed bank robbery.

Hopkins Not Included in Charges Against 'Man in Black' Suspect

was not included in an indictment, unsealed Thursday afternoon, against a Minneapolis man suspected of being the “Man in Black” who hit more than a dozen Twin Cities banks.

Federal prosecutors charged Mark Edward Wetsch, 49, with 13 counts of armed bank robbery in connection with incidents dating back to March 9.

Those charges reflect the cases that investigators, prosecutors and a grand jury all agree there is strong evidence to support, said Jeanne Cooney, director of community relations for the District of Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office. There are about 20 other “banks of suspicion” that have not been charged, she said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office can’t disclose information on the investigation, including details on whether Wetsch is still suspected in the Hopkins robbery. But Cooney said the office could add charges later.

“As a general practice, it is not uncommon for us to supersede an indictment,” she said.

The current indictment charges Wetsch with stealing about:

  • $1,880 from the Rolling Hills Bank and Trust in Brewster on Jan. 3,
  • $3,200 from the Glenwood State Bank in Alexandria on Dec. 29,
  • $9,350 from the First National Bank in Hastings on Dec. 27,
  • $3,634 from the Wells Federal Bank in St. Peter on Dec. 22,
  • $2,350 from the Franklin Bank in Minneapolis on Dec. 20,
  • $3,000 from the Bremer Bank in Minneapolis on Nov. 22,
  • $3,801 from the Premier Bank in Albertville on Nov. 9,
  • $8,823 from the First National Bank in Richfield on Nov. 4,
  • $6,946 from the First National Bank in Gaylord on June 13,
  • $9,445 from the Merchants Bank in Hampton on May 13,
  • $2,225 from the Wells Fargo Bank in Faribault on April 26,
  • $3,050 from the United Educators Credit Union in Eden Prairie on April 26
  • $11,400 from the Klein Bank in Cologne on March 9, 2011.

Wetsch faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison on each count. He remains in custody.

St. Peter police arrested Wetsch after the Jan. 3 Rolling Hils Bank robbery. that it was investigating whether he was the “Man in Black” thought to have hit numerous banks in the Twin Cities—including the Hopkins branch.

According to court documents, Wetsch admitted to the Brewster robbery and unspecified other robberies. Two days after his arrest, the Nobles County Attorney’s Office filed aggravated robbery, terroristic threats and theft charges against him in connection with the Brewster robbery.

Patch was not able to immediately determine whether Nobles County continues to pursue state charges.

Wetsch is a former nursing director of Sholom Home West in St. Louis Park who was convicted in 2005 of taking $1.4 million from the senior care facility. The invoice scheme occurred between September 1997 and January 2005.

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