Homeless Wisconsin man accused of robbing bank to get shelter

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2011 6:09 PM

By John Rondy

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A homeless man robbed a Wisconsin bank before immediately turning himself in, police said on Tuesday, apparently because he needed a place to stay.

Rahn Gearhart, 53, handed a teller at the Johnson Bank in Janesville a note demanding money on Monday, and was given an undisclosed amount, Janesville Police Lt. Tim Hiers said.

The man then walked across the street to the Janesville Gazette newspaper in the southern Wisconsin town and asked the receptionist to call police, Hiers said.

Gearhart waited for police in a conference room, where employees said they saw money on the table, the Gazette said, and police took him away in handcuffs.

A police officer told the Gazette the man was homeless and looking for a place to stay. Hiers said the man asked for an attorney and stopped talking after being taken into custody.

Gearhart, who is unemployed and has been in Janesville for about six months, is now at Rock County Jail, and his case was being reviewed by prosecutors, Hiers said. He has not yet been charged.

A spokesperson for the Gazette was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by John Rondy; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)