Man pleads guilty to robbing First Banking Center
December 15, 2010 | 08:37 AMElkhorn — A Pell Lake man has pleaded guilty to a felony charge for robbing the First Banking Center, 1264 N. Park Rd., Aug. 31 while armed with a BB gun.
Jeremiah J. Ward, 23, W1347 Bernice Road, pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to a felony armed robbery charge. When he is sentenced Feb. 15, he faces up to 40 years imprisonment.
Two other people have been charged in connection with the robbery.
Shelby L. Kaelber, 20, and David C. Allen II, 23, both of Kenosha, have been charged with armed robbery, as a party to a crime after they allegedly drove the getaway car.
Allen pleaded not guilty Sept. 30 to the charge.
Kaelber pleaded not guilty to the charges Nov. 19. If convicted, they each face 40 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.
Law enforcement was able to identify Ward after he removed his mask while leaving the bank, which was caught on video, according to the criminal complaint.
Ward's ex-girlfriend was shown the footage from the surveillance tape and identified Ward as the suspect.
According to the criminal complaints:
At 10:25 a.m. on Aug. 31, police were dispatched to a report of an armed robbery at the First Banking Center.
A bank teller told police a suspect entered the bank holding a handgun and wearing a hockey mask.
The robber told the teller not to touch the money and he wouldn't do anything.
Photographs from the robbery were shown to Ward's ex-girlfriend who stated the robber was wearing her sweater. She said Ward had asked her for money the previous evening, but she only gave him $10.
On Sept. 4, Ward spoke to police and admitted he had robbed the bank using a BB gun.
He said his friends, Allen and Kaelber, purchased the BB gun for him.
Ward told police he had stolen about $7,000 from the bank and that he was driven to the bank by Allen and Kaelber. He said he gave the two $2,000 for driving.
Video surveillance footage from Wal-Mart shows Ward and Kaelber purchasing a BB gun.
It also shows the two entering a two-door blue Chevrolet vehicle.
Digital images from First Banking Center show what is believed to be the same vehicle driving past the bank twice the morning before the robbery.
Allen told police he had driven Ward to the bank, but didn't know why.
He stated Ward returned to the vehicle and he dropped him off at home.
Kaelber told police she went to Wal-Mart the morning of the robbery to purchase a BB gun.
They later went to First Banking Center where Ward was dropped off.
Ward returned with a bag full of money and said everything would be OK because he had previously robbed the bank several months ago.