Wisconsin police: Mom, kids kidnapped, held captive in bank robbery
Four people are facing charges after police said they kidnapped a woman and her children, held them captive and then robbed the bank where the woman worked.
Investigators said the suspects held the woman and her 5- and 2-year-old children overnight so they could gain access in the morning to the Wells Fargo Bank, where she is a branch manager.
Police began investigating after being called to the bank in Racine on the morning of June 29.
Officers arrested William Howell, 19, Donterious Robb, 23, George Pearson-Robb, 19, and Lamarra Powell, 18.
According to criminal complaints, two suspects followed the bank manager after closing and held her at gunpoint after she picked up her children.
Investigators said the men forced the victim and her children into her car and the men drove them to a home in Milwaukee.
She told police the suspects also took her wallet and cellphone.
The complaint states the victim and her children were held against their will in the basement of the home.
She said the men gave the woman and her children a bucket to use as a toilet.
At one point, they fed them McDonald’s Happy Meals, investigators said.
She said they slept on cushions on the basement floor, the complaint states.
The woman told investigators that at 5 a.m. the next morning, she was blindfolded and she and her children were driven from Milwaukee back to the bank in Racine.
She said she later found out the suspects also stole $300 from her debit account.
Police said a third man met them at the bank.
Once inside, the victim told investigators the suspects made her disable the alarm and open the vault and teller drawers.
After the men fled the scene in the woman’s car, she flagged down a person at the ATM to call 911.
Investigators said the robbery was captured on the bank security camera.
The complaint says the suspects set the victim’s car on fire in a garage in Milwaukee.
Police said the men were also captured in the woman’s car on traffic cameras and gas station surveillance video.
Investigators executed a search warrant at Howell’s home and said they found four fake guns, $3,900 in cash, a bucket in the basement containing bodily fluids and McDonald’s Happy Meals.
They said they also found receipts for $2,360 worth of men’s clothes bought three hours after the bank robbery.
Howell, Robb and Pearson-Robb were charged with one count each of bank robbery, armed robbery, and arson and three counts of kidnapping.
Powell was charged with three counts of party to a kidnapping and bank robbery.
If convicted, they each face up to 40 years in prison.