Fugitive mob bank robber gets maximum sentence

Offers info to the feds
September 25, 2008 11:57:13 AM PDT
"I stand before you the subject of a wasted life," a former bank robber and fugitive told federal judge Elaine Bucklo this morning when asking for leniency during his sentencing hearing. Eighty year old Carmine Jannece, who was part of the biggest bank robbery in Michigan history received the maximum 5 year prison term, 17 years after the crime was committed. He said that hoped that his age and living in fear as a fugitive would sway Judge Bucklo to give him home confinement. "I am not an unmerciful judge," Bucklo replied. "This was a violent crime, a serious bank robbery and you were a fugitive for twelve years. It may not have felt like freedom but it was not a penitentiary." Late in the summer of 1991, federal agents say a four-man Outfit burglary crew from Chicago arrived in the quaint town of Saugatuck. The mob holdup men were led by veteran Chicago burglar Bobby "The Beak" Siegel, a cousin of the infamous founder of Las Vegas' Bugsy Siegel. Jannece stole and drove the getaway car. He was to drive the men, money and ammunition back to Chicago and received $90,000 of the nearly $360,000 for his part. When indicted in 1996, Jannece went into hiding.

Jannece's attorney Kevin Bulger told the judge that since Jannece's guilty plea last spring, he had met with young federal agents to "discuss historical matters to let them know what to look for when investigating the types of crimes Mr. Jannece had been involved with" and to "fill in some blanks", or share information about previous crimes and associates. Judge Bucklo acknowledged Jannece's efforts but said he should have been charged with more than just conspiracy and therefore, even the maximum sentence he could receive was light.

According to Bulger, for the last 12 years, Jannece lived right out in the open on the Northwest Side, five miles from his home, ironically between two banks above a strip mall with his alias right there on the mailbox with bills arriving every day for him and his car parked out back, registered in the slightly altered name.

His son says Jannece told him he was exposed when he tried to renew his driver's license.

In July 1991 a movie, "Point Break," was playing at Chicago-area theatres about a gang of robbers who stick up banks while wearing rubber masks of ex-U.S. presidents. Saugatuck businessman Larry Phillips was driving by the bank.

"I went around the one corner and I met a car, and there were three guys in it and they all had face masks on," he said.

The crime syndicate crew had come to hit the only bank in town and pulled it off by diverting the city's only squad car with a 911 call about a phony car accident across town.

One woman was working as a bank teller that day. "Three men came dashing through the front door and pushed me onto the floor, and the other two men grabbed the other bank officer and took him into the vault," said Patricia Diepenhorst, teller.

In 1994, Jannece, Bobby "The Beak" Siegel and their two cohorts were indicted for that robbery and a string of stickups in Florida.

All but Jannece were arrested and convicted.

Jannece became a fugitive, wanted by the FBI here in Chicago; in Michigan and in Florida.

He managed to throw FBI agents off his trail by changing him name from Jannece to Senese and, Jannece outlasted the fugitive run of his boss, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, who managed only nine months before the FBI found him. "I've been wondering about that for years and years, if they'd ever find him," said Diepenhorst.

Jannece pleaded guilty in April to having stolen a car in Holland, Michigan to use as the getaway car, acting as a lookout and agreed to cooperate with the government. He has been free on bond since.


Load Comments