Fishing Hat Bandit Sent Up TheRiver

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - (09/14/05) -- John Whitrock, the mild-mannered57-year-old who robbed as many as 24 credit unions over two years,was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay$97,000 in restitution. Whitrock, who never showed a gun in any ofhis hold-ups, confessed to 19 robberies, but is believed to havebeen responsible for as many as 25--making him the most prolificbank robber in the state's history. Whitrock, dubbed the FishingHat Bandit for his preferred headgear during the heists, wasfinally reeled in on January 7 when Dean Wickstrom, president ofReal Financial Center CU, chased him after a hold-up and calledpolice on his cell phone to tell them where Whitrock was hiding.Most of the robberies involved small amounts, between $326 and$12,877, netting the Fishing Hat Bandit less than $90,000, intotal.

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