The woman charged with robbing a BMO Harris Bank in the city of Brookfield in March could face up to 40 years in prison, if she is convicted.
Sarah Kraus, 34, of West Allis was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court on March 29.
The criminal complaint alleges that she implied she had a weapon, then took more than $1,200 in cash from the bank, 3155 N. 124th St., shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, March 25.
According to testimony from a teller at the bank included in the complaint, Kraus entered the bank and wrote a note on a withdrawal slip. She then approached the teller’s station and showed her the note, which stated that she was armed and demanded money, the complaint said.
The teller provided Kraus with $500 in bills that had previously recorded serial numbers as bait money, the complaint said. Kraus then allegedly demanded more money from other teller stations. The original teller went to two other drawers, removing about $300 from one and between $100 and $300 from another, the complaint said.
After receiving the money, Kraus exited the store and began walking northeast across 124th Street, the complaint alleged.
The bank fraud investigator was able to obtain and provide still frame photos of the bank robbery suspect, which were then reported by Brookfield-Elm Grove Now and other media outlets.
Throughout the day Tuesday, March 28, city of Brookfield police received calls from people reporting that they recognized the suspect in the photos as Kraus.
According to the criminal complaint, Kraus’ ex-husband also saw the photos and identified Kraus.
One caller told police that they had seen Kraus working at Jimmy John’s in Pewaukee. Police arrested her there on March 28.
According to the complaint, police searched a vehicle belonging to a friend of Kraus and found a jacket and pink sweatshirt similar to those worn by the suspect in the surveillance photos. Police also found two notes demanding cash. One note, written on the back of a BMO Harris Bank withdrawal slip, read: “You have 15 seconds to hand me the cash. I am armed. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want no GPS, no dye pack, no bait bills, abide by all demands and no one gets hurt. Absolutely no alarms, remain calm and kosher.”
At a preliminary hearing in Waukesha County court Monday, April 3, Kraus entered a plea of not guilty.
Also on Monday, April 3 Kraus was charged in Milwaukee County court with robbing a bank in Hales Corners March 27.