UPDATE: CrimeTracker 15: Janesville Man Arrested After Bank Robbery

By: Chris Woodard Email
By: Chris Woodard Email

POSTED: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 --- 6:22 p.m.

It's a sign of how desperate one man became with a struggling economy.

He robs a bank, turns himself in and says he did it because he wants to go to jail so he has a place to stay.

Of all the places he could have chosen, the man turned himself in at the Janesville Gazette newspaper office. They're more used to reporting on the news than being a part of it.

If you didn't know better, looking at the surveillance video it would seem like any other Monday afternoon in the lobby of the Gazette.

But the man at the classifieds counter, 53-year-old Rahn Gearhart isn't there to place an add.

The paper's advertising manager Tom Bradley says, "He approached her and said I'm here because I just robbed Johnson Bank. Would you please call 911?"

Remarkably calmly, Gearhart was confessing to a crime.

Bradley says, "He approached her in a very non combative, calm mood as if he were a regular customer coming in our front door."

Along with calling 911 the female employee went to get her boss, Bradley.

He says, "We pulled Mr. Gearhart into the conference room."

In the room, while they waited for police to arrive, the two talked.

Bradley says, "He went into his jacket and pulled out the cash and turned it over to me. He said he did it because he needed somewhere to go, needed a warm meal."

Moments later police arrive to arrest Gearhart, apparently giving this homeless man his wish by bringing him to jail.

Gearhart made zero attempt at a getaway. The bank he robbed was directly across the street from the Gazette.

Janesville Police Lt. Tim Hiers says, "Well this is strange. This is not the norm, obviously."

Police say at the bank Gearhart put on a stocking cap and passed the teller a note demanding money, all of it one big plan to be arrested.

Hiers says, "I don't think he understands the gravity of when he walks in the bank and is presenting himself like that. There is a certain amount of fear that goes along with someone who is doing that."

Bradley says, "He had no place to go. You feel for him but you don't feel for the way he responded."

Bradley points out out Rock County has a lot of resources to help the homeless and he wishes Gearhart would have gone that route instead.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 18, 2011 --- 10:15 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Police say a man desperately looking for a place to stay robbed a Janesville bank then walked into the local newspaper and asked an employee to call 911.

Authorities say the man waited in a conference room at The Janesville Gazette (http://bit.ly/o2yd8V ) where police arrived and arrested him Monday afternoon. Officers left with the suspect and a brown paper bag, but didn't say how much money the man had taken from the bank.

Sgt. Mark Ratzlaff says the man told police he needed a place to stay, even if it was jail.

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Information from: The Janesville Gazette, http://www.gazetteextra.com

Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.

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Posted Monday, October 17, 2011 --- 10:50 p.m.

From the Janesville Police Department:

On 10-17-11 at approximately 3:35 p.m. Janesville Police officers were dispatched to a robbery at Johnson Bank located at 1 South Main Street in Janesville.

A male wearing a dark leather coat and stocking cap entered the bank and passed the teller a note demanding money. The teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect walked to the Janesville Gazette located at 1 S Parker Dr where he told them he had robbed the bank.

Officers responded to the Gazette and took the suspect into custody without incident. No weapon was displayed during the robbery and the suspect was unarmed when taken into custody.

The following suspect was arrested:
Rahn Eldon Gearhart M/W DOB 04-09-58
No fixed address

Charge:
Robbery by Threat of Force 943.32(1)(b)

Gearhart is currently being held at the Rock County Jail.


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