Most people are taught to be extra nice to little old ladies. In that spirit, Luke Weimert says he offered to give 70-year-old Sandra Leanne Bathke a ride from Janesville to Elysian to go to the bank.
The 26 year old didn't realize he was signing on as an accomplice in a bank robbery in the small town east of Mankato.[jump]
Bathke was a tenant of Weimert's mother, who was so far behind on rent she was being evicted. Bathke told Weimert that if she could just get to the bank, she could withdraw the rent in cash. He offered to give her a ride to Elysian Bank to do just that.
Police say that while Weimert twiddled his thumbs in the car, Bathke went inside. Holding the handle of a small hammer inside a paper bag, she told the teller she had a gun. She demanded cash and left with a stack of marked bills. A bank employee followed her out as she got back into Weimert's car, which began driving back to slowly back to Janesville on the icy roads. Not exactly the perfect crime.
On the drive back, Weimert says they chatted about the weather. He didn't realize they were being tailed by both LeSueur County sheriff deputies and the bank employee.
Once they pulled over at Bathke's apartment building, the car was suddenly surrounded by Janesville police, guns drawn. According to Police Chief David Ulmen, Bathke was calm and resigned.
"We've had dealings with her before," he said.
Sheriff Tom Doherty says that in interviews, Bathke said Weimert had nothing to do with the robbery and she was just trying to pay her rent. He adds she did not seem to be suffering from dementia. It's not a case anyone will soon be forgetting.
"I'm sure it was a big surprise to the teller to see such a thing," he says.
The money was returned and Weimert is being dropped from the robbery charges. The only real victim here seems to be Weimert's mother who says she's selling her building and getting out of the landlord game. AARP-member stickup women were apparently the last straw.