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Iowa woman who helped man rob bank sent to prison


This news story was published on January 28, 2020.
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SIOUX CITY – A woman who voluntarily participated in the robbery of a bank was sentenced today to more than two years in federal prison.

Karen Merrick, age 36, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 10, 2019, guilty plea to being an accessory after the fact to bank robbery.

Information provided by the United States at Merrick’s change of plea, detention, and sentencing hearings, revealed Merrick knew Phillip White had just robbed the Iowa State Bank in Le Mars, Iowa on December 12, 2018, when she chose to help him escape the crime scene. Merrick, despite driving a U-Haul, led officers on a dangerous, 20-mile, car-chase, that reached speeds of 70 miles per hour. She ran an intersection, endangered other motorists and pedestrians, and was only brought to a stop, when officers used stop-sticks to destroy her wheels. In fact, even after her tires were deflated, she continued to flee in the vehicle for a couple more miles until she lost control of the van.

Merrick had a significant history of criminal behavior and substance abuse, and had been convicted of assaultive conduct, escape, and interference with official acts prior to the present offense.

Merrick was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Merrick was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment. She was ordered to make $21,223,11 in restitution to Iowa State Bank in Le Mars, Iowa and to U-Haul of Sioux City, Iowa. She must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

White, whose crime spree included not only a bank robbery but also a robbery of a taxi cab two months before, was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand, on November 22, 2019, to 144 months’ imprisonment. He was ordered to make $21,503.11 in restitution. He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.

MERRICK, KAREN ROSE

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