Bank robber gets 35 years for hostage incident

March 31, 2009 11:21:18 AM PDT
Convicted jail escapee and serial bank robber Randy Rencher appeared in federal court Tuesday morning, this time for holding a busload of prisoners hostage. Rencher is already serving 42 years in prison for committing a string of bank robberies after he broke out of Cook County Jail back in 2005.

While awaiting trial in that case, Rencher held a busload of inmates hostage with a homemade weapon. He pleaded guilty last week to that crime. Rencher, 40, could have faced an additional 30 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan on Tuesday sentenced Rencher, 40, to 35 years in prison for hostage taking. But the judge said only five years of the new sentence would be served consecutively to the sentence Rencher received in June of 2008. The other 30 years of the new sentence will be served concurrently, so Rencher will serve a total of 47, Samborn said.

Days before his trial was to begin, Rencher admitted Thursday to holding 12 inmates hostage on Feb. 28, 2008, while aboard a bus at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Armed with a wooden shank he held to the throat of one of the inmates, he demanded U.S. Marshals transfer him from the Kankakee County Jail, where he was awaiting trial on bank robbery charges, to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He also demanded he be granted access to a member of the media, according to the plea agreement.

Rencher made national news in 2005 after he escaped from Cook County Jail, robbed a bank the same day and continued on a multistate robbery spree before being captured in an Ohio bar.

In June of 2008, he was convicted by a jury of robbing five banks, including one while wearing a stolen guard's uniform.

The STNG Wire contributed to this report.