Tuesday, March 06, 2001

'Average Joe' gets 5-plus years in prison




By Steve Bailey
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — A judge sentenced the “Average Joe” bank robber to 63 months in federal prison Monday for 11 robberies — three in Northern Kentucky.

        Daniel T. Schwarberg of Verona appeared before U.S. District Judge Henry R. Wilhoit wearing shackles.

        In October, he pleaded guilty to 11 bank robberies in Kentucky between February 1998 and July 2000.

        Mr. Schwarberg also faces charges for six robberies at Ohio banks.

        For more than two years, state and federal investigators searched for a man thought to have committed at least 17 bank robberies along Interstates 75 and 71 in Ohio and Kentucky.

        The suspect was nicknamed “Average Joe” because he looked nondescript.

        Mr. Schwarberg, a 43-year-old Comair employee at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, was arrested in July after Lexington officers stopped a vehicle thought to be involved in the robbery of a Lexington Bank One.

        In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Mr. Schwarberg admitted to 11 bank robberies: five in Lexington, three in Northern Kentucky and three in Louisville. In each, he said, he wore glasses and a cap and handed tellers an intimidating note demanding money.

        Mr. Schwarberg made a 90-second statement Monday, apologizing to the court, his friends, family and bank employees.

        “What I did was out of frustration and out of a perceived sense of desperation,” he said.

        Mr. Schwarberg had faced a maximum 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine on each count. But in issuing his sentence — which included no fine, more than $17,000 in restitution, three years' supervised release and mandatory treatment for alcohol addiction — Judge Wilhoit said Mr. Schwarberg seemed to be a good man who'd lost his way.

       



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