Serial Twin Cities bank robber gets more than 12 years in prison

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2013 - 9:44 PM

A longtime criminal with a penchant for holding up banks has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after admitting to four bank robberies worth more than $13,000.

Phillip L. Nietz, 52, of Minneapolis, was sentenced Tuesday for robbing the TCF Bank on W. Lake Street in Minneapolis last summer. He also admitted to three other holdups between Aug. 14 and Sept. 13.

The plea agreement said Nietz walked into the TCF on Aug. 22 and gave the teller a note demanding money. He put $3,794 in a bag and walked out.

He also admitted to getting $1,047 from a U.S. Bank on Aug. 14; $7,389 from a Wells Fargo on Aug. 28; and $1,045 from a U.S. Bank on Sept. 13.

Since he became an adult in 1981, Nietz has been convicted of 20 crimes — 10 of them felonies, the prosecution noted. He was convicted in 2000 for robbing two banks in St. Paul and one in the Roseville Byerly’s.

“This cycle will continue unless and until the defendant’s access to drugs and opportunity for crime is stopped by incarceration,” the prosecution court filing read.

The defense, seeking a shorter prison term, argued that Nietz was physically abused as a child, started drinking at age 10 and used drugs in his teen years. He was sexually abused by a high school teacher, the defense said.

Nietz’s sentence of 12 years and seven months in prison calls for him to pay restitution in each robbery and to be treated for mental illness.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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