Eight-year prison term for officer who robbed bank

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 2, 2010 - 11:40 PM

Former Minneapolis cop admitted to robbing an Apple Valley bank. A U.S. attorney said the sentence makes it clear "that no one is above the law."

A former Minneapolis police officer and military veteran who served in Iraq was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for robbing an Apple Valley bank.

U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced Timothy Edward Carson, 29, of Rosemount, to 96 months in prison on one count of armed bank robbery and one count of possessing a firearm for use during a violent crime. Carson was indicted Feb. 2 and pleaded guilty a month later.

After the sentencing, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said that "when police officers break the law, it shakes public confidence and trust in ways we cannot measure. Today's sentence makes clear that no one is above the law."

Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy Dolan added, "Officer Carson's actions hurt many, including his victims, family and those of us who wear a badge. ... I hope that Tim Carson can get the help he needs to become a productive citizen."

Carson's attorney, Andrea George, argued that at the time of the Jan. 6 robbery, Carson was under severe stress from financial problems, a deceptive wife, a sick child and nightmares about his military service in Iraq.

Carson suffers from diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder, George said. In one May 2004 mortar attack in Iraq, he risked his life and saved several others when he ran to give first aid to injured servicemen, according to a military award recommendation.

George said that Carson told a doctor that he had hoped to die in a confrontation with police, leaving his wife to collect $250,000 in life insurance.

In papers filed before Carson's sentencing, George asked Schiltz to give her client the minimum seven years in prison and five years of supervision, saying that Carson was subjected to "vast and intricate fabrications" by his wife, who lied about having cancer.

Carson admitted stealing $4,580 from the bank and putting lives in jeopardy by brandishing a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun during a Jan. 6 robbery. According to an affidavit, a man jumped onto the counter and pointed his gun at three tellers. He then ordered everyone to put their hands up and their heads down. Upon receiving cash, he fled. Security cameras from a nearby Target store recorded the man getting into a parked vehicle near a vacant strip mall.

Just before the robbery, Carson was stopped by Apple Valley police about 3 miles from the bank. The stop was made because Carson's vehicle lacked a front license plate. During the stop, Carson identified himself as a Minneapolis police officer and was allowed to go on his way. Later, that same Apple Valley officer responded to the report of the robbery and, while on his way to the scene, saw Carson's vehicle heading away from the bank.

According to court documents, Carson was scheduled to report to work at the Minneapolis Police Department at 9 a.m. that day, but didn't arrive until 10 a.m. The Apple Valley Police Department and the FBI arrested Carson without incident later that day.

James Walsh • 612-673-7428

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