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Second man charged in Bancroft bank robbery

OMAHA | A second man has been charged in connection with an April bank robbery in Bancroft, Nebraska.

An indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha charges Jeffrey Bonneau and Lenn Zuhlke each with one count of bank robbery. Zuhlke is accused of aiding and abetting Bonneau in the April 20 robbery of First Bank of Bancroft.

Both men pleaded not guilty Friday.

Court documents do not define what role Zuhlke, 55, of Bancroft, had in the robbery, but the indictment cites a federal criminal code section that pertains to aiding and abetting.

Bonneau, 38, of Bancroft, is accused of taking $6,745 from the bank, then fleeing on an ATV. Officers tracked Bonneau to a grove of trees and encountered Bonneau, who brandished a handgun. After taking cover and waiting for 15 minutes, officers heard Bonneau fire a shot before fleeing on the ATV, court documents said.

Bonneau rolled the ATV and was hospitalized for several days because of his injuries.

Authorities recovered approximately $1,020 in cash from Bonneau's hiding spot and another $4,205 that had been placed in a tree. Bonneau admitted to robbing the bank and directed officers to the money, court documents said.


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Man placed on probation for mail theft

SIOUX CITY | A former U.S. Postal Service worker was placed on probation Friday for stealing items from the mail at least 22 times.

Kirk Baird, 42, of Sergeant Bluff, had pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court to one count of theft of mail by a postal service employee. At his plea hearing, Baird admitted that from August to October, he removed cash and gift cards from items in the mail.

Baird apologized to the victims and his former employer for violating their trust.

"They trusted me, and I failed them," he said.

The federal sentencing guideline formula had determined a guideline range of zero to six months in prison, but the U.S. Attorney's Office and Baird's attorney had agreed to recommend that Baird be placed on probation.

U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett went along with the recommendation, noting that Baird had never been in trouble with the law before this action, which seemed out of character.

"Mr. Baird has been a model citizen," Bennett said.

Baird has already paid $747 in restitution to the victims and a $100 special assessment. Bennett chose not to impose a fine on Baird, but ordered him to complete 100 hours of community service.


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2 indicted for murder in Winnebago death

OMAHA | Two people have been charged with murder for the death of a man in Winnebago, Nebraska, last month. A third person is charged as being an accessory.

An indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha charges Jeremiah Wolfe, 19, and Lawrencia Merrick, 21, both of Winnebago, with second-degree murder. They are accused of killing William Redhorn Jr., 32, of Winnebago, on April 23. They had initially faced manslaughter charges in a criminal complaint filed by federal authorities.

Wolfe's mother, Natasha Wolfe, 38, of Winnebago, is charged with accessory after the fact.

All three are scheduled to be arraigned next week in Omaha.

Court documents say that Merrick and Jeremiah Wolfe confronted Redhorn at around 4 a.m. outside the Ho-Chunk Inc. offices in Winnebago. The two told authorities they saw Redhorn, who appeared to be intoxicated, trying to break into the building and they told him to leave.

As Redhorn approached their vehicle, Wolfe and Merrick got out, and a fight between Wolfe and Redhorn ensued, court documents said. Wolfe told investigators that as they wrestled on the ground, he put Redhorn in a headlock until he went limp and was unconscious. Merrick punched and kicked Redhorn during the fight, court documents said.

Both Wolfe and Merrick said they thought Redhorn was just unconscious and would "walk it off" after he woke up, court documents said.

According to court documents, Natasha Wolfe, who had been in the back seat of the vehicle, tried to break up the fight and kicked Redhorn in the ribs. After the incident, Jeremiah Wolfe and Merrick went to Natasha Wolfe's home, where they washed their bloody clothes.

Jeremiah Wolfe and Merrick turned themselves in to police later that night after hearing family members talking about a body being found at the Ho-Chunk building.

Both said Redhorn's death was an accident, court documents said.

An autopsy determined Redhorn's cause of death was strangulation and that head trauma could have been a contributing factor.