Criminal Justice

Homeless man gets job offers after he seeks maximum sentence for bank robbery

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A homeless man in Indiana is getting some job offers after telling a judge he would plead guilty to bank robbery if he got the maximum sentence.

David Potchen was on probation for a prior bank robbery and working as a welder when he was laid off from his job last March, the Post-Tribune reported last week. He told Judge Clarence Murray last Wednesday that he decided to rob a Merrillville bank because he wanted to return to prison. A column by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass noted the story.

Potchen hatched the robbery plan when he could no longer afford the hotel room where he was staying and spent a night in the woods, the Post-Tribune says. He entered the bank on June 6, handed a teller a note announcing the robbery, then sat on the curb and waited for police.

Potchen’s employment as a welder may have been short-lived. A story by the Northwest Indiana Times says Potchen had been released from prison about three months before the robbery, which would be about March 6. The newspaper called the company that laid off Potchen in March, but an employee there declined to comment.

Potchen had been imprisoned for a 2001 bank robbery in which he demanded no money but asked for Big Macs, nacho chips, cheese dip and pretzels, the Northwest Indiana Times says.

Potchen’s lawyer, Stephen Scheele, told the Northwest Indiana Times that three potential employers had called him offering construction jobs for Potchen. Scheele hopes Potchen can begin work at one of the jobs if the judge declines to jail him. The next hearing in the case is on March 18.

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