An Indiana man accused of robbing banks in six states pleaded guilty Thursday to staging two East Tennessee holdups this summer, according to federal authorities.
Chad Schaffner, 37, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greeneville to two counts of bank robbery and two counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime.
According to his plea agreement, Schaffner on Aug. 18 showed a teller at the Community National Bank in Jefferson City a firearm and demanded cash. The teller gave him a bag with money and a dye pack, designed to explode and foil the robbery. After the bag exploded outside the bank, Schaffner left it behind and fled.
Read the full report at the Knoxville News Sentinel Web site.
Earlier Associated Press report:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A man suspected of robbing 14 banks in six states told a federal judge Monday that he wants to return to Tennessee to face charges of robbing two banks.
Chad Schaffner, 37, was arrested Saturday at a motel about 30 miles northeast of Missouri's capital. A former state trooper recognized Schaffner at a restaurant in Kingdom City after seeing his picture during a news report about a bank robbery in Caseyville, Ill., and on the television show "America's Most Wanted."
During a 10-minute hearing Monday, Schaffner said he has no attorney and cannot afford one. He said he doesn't have a job, has no steady income and doesn't own any cars, stock, real estate or other assets.
Schaffner waived his right to a hearing to verify his identify, saying that he wanted to return to Tennessee to face charges there.
"I just want to get back there," he said.
A federal grand jury indictment handed up in the Eastern District of Tennessee accuses Schaffner of robbing the Community National Bank in Jefferson City and the First Tennessee Bank in Morristown, both in northeastern Tennessee. He is charged with using a gun in both robberies. He is also accused of threatening to kill a Morristown woman's children if she turned him.
Asked by reporters while being escorted into the courthouse how he felt about being caught, Schaffner only shrugged his shoulders. He was shackled during the hearing and leaned back in his chair while looking at the judge as the indictment was explained.
Larry Miller, the Jefferson City, Mo., branch chief for the U.S. attorney's office, told the judge that Schaffner should remain in custody.
"Based on the merit of the charges against him and his criminal history, we clearly believe he is a danger to the community," Miller said.
Schaffner, of Indianapolis, was wanted on felony warrants for bank robbery, burglary, armed robbery and receiving stolen property. He is suspected of robbing banks in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.
Police said Schaffner would enter banks with a handgun, threaten to use it and then demand money. He sometimes wore a red baseball cap but did not try to conceal his face.
The FBI posted bank surveillance video of the suspect on electronic highway billboards in Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Within 24 hours, police had identified the suspect.
Schaffner was released from an Indiana prison in December after serving time for armed robbery, according to a criminal complaint.