Home Milwaukee Press Releases 2009 Eau Claire Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery and Gun Crime

Eau Claire Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery and Gun Crime

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 17, 2009
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin (414) 297-1700

MADISON, WI—Stephen P. Sinnott, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Eric Koenig, 48, Eau Claire, Wis., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Madison to armed bank robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb scheduled sentencing for February 9, 2010, at 1:20 p.m. Koenig faces a maximum penalty of 25 years on the armed bank robbery charge, and a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years on the felon in possession charge.

According to the government's factual proffer, on July 15, 2009, Koenig entered the U.S. Bank branch located at 5700 Old Mill Plaza, Eau Claire, and robbed it wearing dark-colored sunglasses and a light-colored hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. Koenig pointed a .22 caliber silver-colored pistol at the two tellers and demanded money. Koenig repeatedly told the tellers that he wanted only the large bills from the “second drawer,” and provided the tellers an empty bag for the money.

After obtaining cash from the tellers, Koenig left the bank on foot and ran across the parking lot to North Town Hall Road where he got into the front passenger seat of a black Cadillac DeVille driven by Debra Berenz. The two defendants then fled the scene at a high rate of speed.

Both defendants were captured later that evening by members of the Eau Claire County SWAT team in rural Dunn County. Officers recovered a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol from Koenig at the time of his arrest. Officers also recovered the bank robbery proceeds from Debra Berenz's purse.

Berenz pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery on November 2, 2009. Her sentencing is set for February 1, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Crabb.

The charges against Koenig and Berenz are the result of an investigation conducted by the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office, Dunn County Sheriff's Office, Altoona Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber.

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