Alleged bank robber makes court appearanceWORTHINGTON — Alleged bank robber Mark Edward Wetsch, 49, of Minneapolis, made a second court appearance Monday in Nobles County District Court, with public defender Louis Kuchera at his side.
WORTHINGTON — Alleged bank robber Mark Edward Wetsch, 49, of Minneapolis, made a second court appearance Monday in Nobles County District Court, with public defender Louis Kuchera at his side.
Wetsch, who is charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, terroristic threats and theft, is accused of robbing the Rolling Hills Bank of Brewster Jan. 3, brandishing a handgun to threaten a bank teller. The robbery took place shortly before noon, and Wetsch was picked up in St. Peter as he drove through the city.
Wetsch pleaded not guilty on all three counts Monday, and the matter was set for a two-day jury trial. He was remanded back into the custody of the Nobles County Sheriff, where he is being held on $300,000 bail.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies are investigating the possibility that Wetsch is the serial bank robber known as the Man in Black, and additional charges are anticipated.
According to Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore, the county will continue to prosecution of Wetsch’s case until a federal indictment is filed.
“We have never continued to prosecute a bank robbery case when the feds have indicted someone for bank robbery, and given the complexity of the situation involving (Wetsch), I wouldn’t want to get in the way of anyone on this case,” Moore stated. “But we’ll make that decision if and when the feds do charge (Wetsch) with a crime.”
After his arrest, Wetsch stated he had left Minneapolis that morning intending to rob a bank, using his cell phone to locate banks in smaller towns. He watched the Heron Lake bank for awhile, but decided it was too busy and moved on to the Brewster Bank.
He never intended to hurt anyone, he stated, which is why he used a toy gun which he had colored with a black Sharpie marker. He said he was planning to use the money to travel to Africa the next day. He also allegedly stated he had found his first robbery the easiest and that they became more difficult as they went on, which he believed was unusual.
According to Moore, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) learned Wetsch and his wife had plane tickets to travel to Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 4. The round trip tickets had a return date in late February.