WISCONSINREPORT.COM (04/16/2009) - A Janesville man has been sentanced to six and a half years in prison without parole for robbing a Madison, Wisconsin bank. Erik C. Peterson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that John Kowal, 23, Janesville, Wis., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 78 months in prison without parole for robbing the Anchor Bank on Westfield Road in Madison on September 16, 2008.
Kowal pleaded guilty to this charge on February 4, 2009.
On September 16, 2008, Kowal entered the Anchor Bank and handed the teller a
note stating that he had a gun and wanted all the money. A customer who was at the
drive-up window of the bank followed Kowal after he left the bank and relayed the
defendantís location to law enforcement officers.
Shortly thereafter, Kowal was found and arrested. During his arrest, officers found a bank robbery note and a large amount of money in his backpack.
During a statement to police, Kowal also admitted to committing five other bank
robberies, including the March 19, 2008 robbery at Amcore Bank on Odana Road in
Madison; the April 11, May 7, and August 15, 2008 bank robberies at branches of the
State Bank of Cross Plains in Middleton, Wis.; and the June 17, 2008 bank robbery at
M&I Bank in Monona, Wis.
In all of these robberies, Kowal entered the banks and handed a note to the tellers
indicating that he had a gun and wanted money. Surveillance photographs confirmed
that Kowal robbed the above-named banks. The conduct from each of these bank robberies was included in determining his sentence.
The charges against Kowal were the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison Police Department, Middleton Police Department and Monona Police Department. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Reinhard.
Erik C. Peterson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, also announced that Leroy Sharp, 31, of Madison, Wis., was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 20 years in prison, without the possibility of parole, for distributing a total of nine grams of crack cocaine.
Sharp pleaded guilty to this charge on January 29, 2009. Sharp distributed a little over 5 grams of crack cocaine on May 20, 2008, to Willie Davis. Davis, in turn, sold it to an undercover officer and a confidential informant.
After Davisís subsequent arrest at the Highlander Motel, Davis cooperated against Sharp and Odell Dobbs, another source of crack cocaine.
On November 14, 2008, Judge Crabb sentenced Dobbs to 262 months in prison and on March 20, 2009, she sentenced Davis to ten years in prison. Both Dobbs and Sharp received lengthy sentences because of their significant criminal histories, which include prior drug convictions and prior violent felony convictions.
The charge against Sharp was the result of an investigation conducted by the Dane County Narcotics and Gang Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow.