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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City man pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing a Le Mars, Iowa, bank in December.

Phillip White, 33, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Sioux City to one count of bank robbery, and faces a maximum prison term of 20 years.

White entered Iowa State Bank, 301 Plymouth St. NW, on Dec. 12, told a teller he had a weapon and wanted a bag of money. He left the bank with $16,190 in cash.

Witnesses told authorities they saw White get into a U-Haul van, in which Karen Merrick was waiting for him. Merrick led law enforcement officers on a pursuit out of Le Mars and onto county roads before she was stopped in rural Plymouth County. The stolen money was recovered from the van.

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White later told authorities that he did not have a weapon and denied threatening the bank teller. He told investigators that he had robbed the bank because he needed to provide another person with $5,000 or a pound of methamphetamine that day, though he denied owing money or drugs to anyone, court documents said.

Merrick, 36, of Sioux City, on Tuesday had her trial concerning the robbery rescheduled to Aug. 5.

Also Thursday, White pleaded guilty to interference with commerce by threat or violence for the armed robbery of a Sioux City cab driver in October.

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