'Man in Black' bank robber makes case to be set free on bail


Mark Wetsch, the Minneapolis man known as "Man in Black" for his garb in robbing some 30 banks, has filed a motion on his own behalf to be released from jail while awaiting sentencing.

The Pioneer Press reports that Wetsch, 50, a former nurse, said he wants a hearing so he can argue for his release. He has pleaded guilty of six counts of bank robbery and admitted to 25 other robberies. No sentencing date has been set.

Wetsch tried this before, the paper reports, and when U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson accepted his guilty plea earlier this month, she rejected his request for release. "You pose both a danger to the public and a risk of flight," she told him at the May 6 hearing, according to the PiPress.

In his latest motion, Wetsch denies that he is a flight risk, and points to others who have committed lesser crimes are free on bail.

Wetsch was arrested in January 2012 after he robbed Rolling Hills Bank & Trust in Brewster, Minn. A month later, a federal grand jury indicted him on 13 counts of armed bank robbery that accused him of being the "Man in Black," a bandit who wore a black ski mask and dark clothing while sticking up tellers.

He said he was innocent, then recanted and last month and pleaded guilty of the Brewster heist. Wetsch worked out a plea bargain in which he would plead guilty to five counts of bank robbery and prosecutors would drop the remaining seven.

The agreement also specified that he would admit to bank robberies he committed in 2011. He has admitted to 30 of them, with a haul of nearly $115,000. The paper says he could be sentenced to up to 14 years and restitution on all robberies, which would be a lot of money even for the original "man in black" -- the appropriately named Johnny Cash.

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