EAST ST. LOUIS — A Godfrey man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to three robberies in Alton and Bethalto.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said Joseph E. Schwank, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery and two counts of interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act robbery). Schwank is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 16, when he faces a potential sentence for each count of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, up to three years of supervised release after his prison term, a mandatory special assessment of $100 and restitution.
Court proceedings revealed that on March 2, Schwank entered a U.S. Bank branch at 1520 Washington Ave. in Upper Alton wearing a hunter’s hat and large white sunglasses. He approached a teller and handed her a note that stated: “don’t be a hero put all of the money in your cash register on the counter for me robbery.” A teller removed cash in the amount of $1,613 from a drawer and placed it in a bag. Schwank picked up the cash and exited the bank.
On Feb. 23, 2015, Schwank entered a Pizza Hut in Alton wearing a disguise, walked to the counter, handed a bag to an employee, and stated, “Put the money in the bag.” Schwank showed this employee a black airsoft gun he had in his waistband upon making this demand. The employee then provided Schwank with approximately $475 in cash. Schwank fled from the restaurant. In a third robbery, Schwank, again wearing a disguise, entered a Domino’s Pizza on March 3 in Bethalto and yelled, “This is a robbery. Give me all the money you have.” Schwank fled after an employee handed him approximately $53 in cash.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak for prosecution.