Detention hearings set for Le Mars bank robbery suspects

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Detention hearings have been set for the suspects charged in the robbery of a Le Mars, Iowa, bank back in December.

Phillip White and Karen Merrick are both charged with Bank Robbery by Force or Violence. Both pleaded not guilty to charges when the case was initially in Plymouth County District Court.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, on December 12 White drove Merrick to Le Mars inside a U-Haul truck and circled the Iowa State Bank, 301 Plymouth Street, several times, casing the bank.

White parked the U-Haul at The Brew parking lot next to the alley before entering the bank shortly before 2:30 p.m., and told a bank employee he wanted money and had a weapon.

Court documents said White had his hands inside his sweatshirt and leaned toward the teller, which the teller thought indicated a weapon. According to the complaint, the teller gathered money from the drawer before giving it to White.

Within minutes, he was seen sprinting back to the U-Haul with the money where Merrick was in the driver’s seat.

Police took chase of the truck, beginning west out of Le Mars on county road C38 before White and Merrick headed south on county road K18.

The truck was finally stopped more than 20-miles away, in southwestern Plymouth County after officers flattened the truck’s tires with stop sticks.

Police say all of the money stolen was recovered in the U-Haul van.

Court documents show both Merrick and White admitted to the robbery and theft.

According to the criminal complaint in U.S. District Court, White claimed he robbed the bank because he was “desperate” and had to give a person either $5,000 or a pound of methamphetamine that day.

Blake Branch

Blake Branch

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