Husband-wife team charged in bank robberies

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 6:28 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A husband and wife who police believe are serial bank robbers appeared in federal court Thursday to face criminal charges.

Matthew and Sarah Rosenweig's hands and feet were shackled as they made their brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Paul Warner. Investigators believe he robbed the banks and his wife acted as a getaway driver.

Matthew Rosenweig, 31, was indicted on three counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery. Sarah Roswenweig, 33, was indicted on one count of bank robbery and one count of attempted robbery. Each count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say Matthew Rosenweig is responsible for robbing Zions Bank, 455 E. South Temple twice — once on Sept. 20 and again on Oct. 9.

During the Sept. 20 robbery, Rosenweig handed the teller a note "stating that he had a bomb" and told the teller, "Don't be a hero," the indictment states. On Oct. 9, police say he again entered the bank and handed the teller a note stating, "Don't be a hero, no GPS, no dye packs."

After reviewing surveillance video, investigators said the same man attempted to enter the bank the day before, on Oct. 8, but apparently didn't realize it was closed for Columbus Day.

On Oct. 17, Bank of the West, 2011 E. Blackstone Road, was robbed. Police say Rosenweig waited outside the bank for it to open, walked in wearing dark sunglasses and several layers of clothing, including a hooded sweatshirt and "blue medical style rubber gloves" as he had in previous robberies. He allegedly gave the teller a note that included the words "bomb" and "gun."

Based on tips received by police after surveillance photos of Rosenweig were distributed to the media, as well as other "investigative leads," FBI agents and Salt Lake police set up surveillance on Rosenweig and his wife at the Motel 6, near 7200 South and I-15, on Wednesday.

Investigators followed the couple as they drove to 3880 S. 700 East and "appeared to be casing a Zion's Bank," charging documents state.

At 9 a.m., investigators watched as Matthew Rosenweig got out of the passenger side door, wearing the same thing that was described in previous bank robberies. FBI agents confronted him as he got within 10 feet of the front door and arrested him. During a subsequent search, detectives found Rosenweig was carrying a note that stated, "No police or I start to shoot! This is a robbery …"

Police say Sarah Rosenweig confessed to being the getaway driver for the bank robbery on Oct. 17 and the attempted robbery on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors asked Warner on Thursday to hold the couple in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday. The case will be reviewed by a grand jury on Nov. 7.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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