MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Michael Benike, 29, of Madison, Wisconsin, and Tara Thousand, 25, of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, have been charged with six counts of bank robbery.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Madison earlier today, Benike and Thousand were charged with robbing six different banks in Madison, Middleton, and Janesville, Wisconsin, between March and June 2012. The complaint also alleges involvement in three additional bank robberies, two of which occurred outside the Western District of Wisconsin in Rockford, Illinois, and Dubuque, Iowa.
The defendants were arrested earlier today in Madison and Mt. Horeb by FBI agents and officers of the Madison and Mt. Horeb Police Departments. In an initial appearance in federal court in Madison today, both Benike and Thousand were ordered detained pending trial. They will appear in federal court next on July 19, at 3:30 p.m.
Each count of bank robbery carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The charges against Benike and Thousand are the result of a cooperative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison, Middleton, Janesville, and Mt. Horeb Police Departments.
A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke.