Fishing Hat Bandit Reeled In

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EDINA, Minn. - (01/11/05) -- Authorities said they are confidenta local man captured after allegedly robbing Real Financial Center(Realtors CU) last Friday is the Fishing Hat Bandit who menacedarea credit unions and banks during 23 robberies over the past 18months. The serial robber, named for his choice of headgear duringmany of the heists, was identified as John Whitrock, 56, ofBurnside, who was charged Monday with a single count of aggravatedrobbery. But authorities are expected to add additional counts,according to Paul McCabe, special agent for the FBI. "Based on theinvestigation to date, evidence has been developed that allegedlyties Mr. Whitrock to multiple bank and credit union robberies inthe Metropolitan area," McCabe told The Credit Union Journal. "Weare confident that the suspect known as the Fishing Hat Bandit isno longer a threat to the community." Whitrock was captured afterFriday's hold-up when the manager of the credit union, DeanWickstrom, chased him across the street and into a nearby parkinggarage, while calling police on his cell phone. Wickstrom saw himget into a car and police towed the car out of the garage and foundWhitrock in the trunk with $4,683 stolen from the credit union. Thebandit is also believed to have robbed: Minnesota Building TradesFCU, Minnesota's CU, Highgrove Community FCU (twice), RetailEmployees CU, Teacher FCU, Twin City Co-Op FCU, St. Paul Retail CU,Minnesota Building Trades FCU and City-County FCU (twice); withonly two of his state-record 24 robberies of non-creditunions.

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