Fishing Hat Bandit Suspect PleadsInnocent

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - (02/15/05) – A man charged with committing astring of 21 credit union and bank robberies over an 18-monthstretch pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court Monday,even though authorities said he already confessed to 19 of theheists. The FBI said John Whitrock, 56, of nearby Burnside, was theserial bank robber known as the Fishing Hat Bandit, so-calledbecause he wore a floppy fishing hat at deep-water waders duringmost of the hold-ups. Whitrock was arrested Jan. 7 after robbingReal Financial CU, when the credit union manager, Dean Wickstrom,tracked him down during his getaway and alerted police to hishiding place. Authorities said 15 of the robberies were at creditunions and six at banks.

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