70-year-old bank robber Sandra Leanne Bathke forced to stay in jail

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Sandra Bathke's bank heist has earned her a Christmas in the clink.
Sandra Leanne Bathke told police she robbed the Elysian Bank in order to keep a roof over her head. The 70 year old's plan worked -- sorta.

Bathke was nabbed shortly after she threatened a teller and walked out of the bank with $3,700. Her judge allowed her release, but there's a teensy problem -- Bathke has no place to go. The result: She is now basically living at Le Sueur County jail.

Bathke tried to pull a terribly-planned bank heist about a week ago in order to come up with rent money.

She didn't bother to tell her ride -- Luke Weimert, the 26-year-old son of her landlord -- that he was a getaway driver. Her gun was really just a small hammer. The bills she took were marked. She failed to notice that the bank president followed her out and then all the way back to Janesville in his own car.

She was arrested moments after arriving back at her apartment building.

Once caught, Bathke admitted that her chauffeur had nothing to do with her plan. She was just trying to pay rent, she told cops.

A judge said she was free to go home without posting bail. Problem is, she doesn't have one anymore. Thanks to her little stunt, her old landlord doesn't want her back or anywhere near her son. Bathke's daughter lives nearby but refused to take her, calling her "manipulative" and "mentally ill." And though Bathke at one point claimed to have a friend who agreed to take her, last Friday she sat in the lobby of the jail until it was clear no one was coming.

Her only choice? Turn right back around and be booked again. She's been in the jail ever since.

"She just needs to articulate an address where she's going to be in the event we'd need to check up that she's here," says Le Sueur County Sheriff Tom Doherty. "She can't seem to come up with anyone."

If she has no forwarding address, says Doherty, she could conceivably stay in jail until her case is resolved. She is facing up to 48 months for the failed robbery.

Although Doherty took issue with the decision to release Bathke after such a serious offense, even he thinks the whole thing is pretty depressing.

"It's a terribly sad situation," he said. "But you can't go that route to try to right things."


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