Investigators were questioning their lead suspect within 30 minutes of the alleged attempted robbery last week in King.
At 4:46 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, a teller at Farmers State Bank on County Road QQ called 911 and reported that she had seen a man putting on a mask as he entered the bank.
She described him as about 5-feet 6-inches tall with a stocky build, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a green or grayish trench coat.
She said he had appeared to be removing something from under his coat. She yelled at him and the man panicked and fled on foot. He did not take any money.
Officers from both the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department and the Waupaca Police Department responded immediately to the area. While some of them questioned the teller and collected evidence from the scene, others searched the area, looking for a man fitting the teller’s description.
About half an hour later, Waupaca Police Sgt. Mario Graceffa stopped and detained a 35-year-old Waupaca man who was walking toward town on County QQ, near the Kwik Trip.
Detective Sgt. Rob Karski, with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department, joined Graceffa on County QQ and helped question the man.
“He fit the physical description we had from the teller, but he wasn’t wearing any of the clothes she described,” Karski said. “He initially denied being at the bank, but he told us he had been in the area.”
The suspect, whose name authorities are not releasing until charges are filed, was temporarily taken into custody because there was an active warrant for failure to pay child support. While investigators were canvassing the neighborhood and still searching the area, the suspect was released from custody, after he filled out the necessary paperwork to satisfy the child-support warrant.
The information that Karski learned while questioning the suspect on the street helped the officers find the clothing and mask in a backpack in a residential area about two blocks from the bank.
Karski said that the mask investigators found is a protective headgear used by paintball players.
Police hope to obtain DNA evidence from the items they found.
On Thursday morning, Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. John Macadlo contacted Probation and Parole regarding the suspect.
“I found out that he was on probation and waiting to be assigned an agent,” Macadlo said. “She requested an apprehension and we brought him in for questioning again at about 1 o’clock.”
During a two-hour interview, the suspect confessed to going into the bank to rob it, Macadlo said.
Two days prior to the attempted bank robbery, the suspect was in Waupaca County Circuit Court, where he pleaded guilty to battery, disorderly conduct and possession of pot. He was placed on 18 months probation and ordered to serve 40 hours of community service. He had been accused of punching a 13-year-old boy in the face. A misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer was dismissed and read into the record.
The suspect’s adult criminal record includes a three-year prison sentence in 1997 for robbery and burglary, one-year prison sentence in 1997 for felony bail jumping, a conviction of felony theft as a habitual criminal that led to 180 days in jail, as well as 16 criminal cases since 1994 involving charges of battery, disorderly conduct, bail jumping, criminal damage to property and resisting an officer.
The suspect remains in custody on a probation hold.