Grand Jury Baits Case Against Fishing HatBandit

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MINNEAPOLIS - (02/08/05) -- A 56-year-old suburbanite wascharged in a 21-count indictment Monday with committing an 18-monthspree of credit union and bank robberies that marked him as thestate's most prolific bank robber. A federal grand jury chargedthat John Whitrock, of nearby Burnside, was the Fishing Hat Bandit,who robbed as many as two dozen credit unions and banks, many ofthem wearing his trademark fishing hat and high-water waders.Whitrock was charged with robbing 15 credit unions and six banksand one attempted robbery at a credit union. The bandit was finallyreeled in after hitting Real Financial CU on Jan. 7 when the creditunion's manager, Dean Wickstrom, chased him down and alerted policeto his hiding place, culminating in a guns-drawn capture near thecredit union. The indictment, a copy of which was obtained by TheCredit Union Journal, charges Whitrock stole a total of $87,000from the credit unions and banks, with a high of $12,877 taken fromMinnesota Building Trades FCU, and just $326 stolen from AmericaBank.

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