CHIPPEWA FALLS — The man accused of robbing a bank in Lake Hallie on Monday previously served a nine-year prison sentence for robbing a bank in Wisconsin in 1998, and he’s a suspect in a string of other bank robberies.
Jason G. Burgett, 42, of Milwaukee is facing charges of armed robbery, fleeing an officer and retail theft. He appeared in Chippewa County Court on Wednesday, where Judge Steve Cray ordered Burgett be held on a $100,000 cash bond.
The armed robbery occurred at 9:37 a.m. Monday at Citizens Community Bank, 2727 Commercial Blvd. Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said a man entered the bank, wearing a black mask and holding a handgun.
“He asked for money from two tellers, which he received,” Newell told Cray. “He had a BB gun-hand gun, which appeared to the tellers like it was a real gun.”
People in the bank observed the type of vehicle the man got into and fled the area. Lake Hallie detective Adam Myers arrived at the scene in an unmarked police vehicle. Myers located a car that matched the suspect’s vehicle, and he followed the car. Once the car got on Highway 29, Myers attempted to pull over the vehicle.
“The vehicle then increased its speed and did not stop,” wrote Lake Hallie Police Chief Cal Smokowicz in a press release. “A pursuit was initiated at 9:44 a.m. The pursuit left Highway 29 and continued upon county highways in the town of Lafayette. The pursuit was joined by deputies of the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and ended at 10:03 when the suspect’s vehicle pulled over and the occupant surrendered.”
“The chase was in speeds in excess of 100 mph,” Newell said. “They were able to see inside (his car) he had a black duffle bag with money inside. They also noticed the black hat inside.”
The amount of money taken from the bank is not being disclosed, Smokowicz said.
In addition to the bank robbery, Newell is looking at filing a retail theft charge, as Burgett was observed taking an item from the Walmart in Lake Hallie, he said.
Newell asked for the $100,000 cash bond, noting that Burgett was sentenced to federal prison in 1998 for robbing a bank. He was given a nine-year prison sentence along with five years of extended supervision.
Burgett also later went back to prison for stealing a vehicle, Newell added.
“He’s been linked to at least three other bank robberies, here and in Michigan,” Newell told Cray. “One is in Marinette County. Another is from Waupaca, Wisconsin. Given the fact he was involved in the robbery here and linked to three others, and the fact that when police tried to arrest him, he fled at 100 mph, he’s very much a danger not to appear in court.”
Defense attorney Matt Moertel asked for a lower cash bond, noting that his client has never missed a court appearance, and he willingly pulled over his vehicle. Moertel said his client was in the area because he was supposed to attend a drug treatment course.
Cray noted Burgett’s lack of community ties, and agreed to set a $100,000 cash bond, with a requirement Burgett cannot have any contact with CCF Bank or its employees. He cannot possess any weapons or items that look like weapons.
Cray set an initial appearance for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
On Oct. 9, 1996, Burgett was sentenced by the state of Wisconsin to a term of imprisonment of three years and six months, online court records show. On Feb. 4, 1998, Burgett escaped from state custody. On April 13, 1998, federal authorities arrested Burgett and charged him with committing two acts of armed bank robbery. Burgett pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, to one count of armed bank robbery in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; on October 14, 1998, the court sentenced him to a 108-month term of imprisonment to be served consecutive to his state sentence, online records state.
The Lake Hallie Police Department will continue an investigation of the case with the aid of the FBI and the Chippewa County sheriff’s office, Smokowicz wrote.