College student in court for alleged drive-thru bank robbery

CREATED Apr 17, 2014

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MILWAUKEE -  A college student who disappeared just days before graduation is back in Wisconsin, just after she allegedly ordered a drive-thru bank robbery.

Police caught up with Jessica Benson, 23 in Illinois on April 4th, eleven months after the Educator's Creditt Union where she worked was robbed.

You may recall that in the weeks following Jessica's disappearance last May, family and friends spent countless hours searching.

Now home, eleven months later, Benson sat quietly in court.  Family members were not present.

It was back in May of 2013 when we first heard about Benson, a young lady about to graduate from Mount Mary College with a degree in chemistry.

A criminal complaint reveals a dark side. 

One of two men already convicted of robbing the credit union where Benson worked, calls her the mastermind.  Ricardo Perkins tells investigators that Benson told him and two others to do the robbery on a Tuesday evening after the bank received a $400-thousand drop. 

She said tellers would wait three minutes to call police, and suggested they use stolen cars and go through the drive-up windows.

In court Thursday, defense attorney Alejandro Lockwood argued, that statement's not enough.

"In terms of the strength of the state's case, right now, as you can see from the criminal complaint, is entirely or mostly based on the statements of a convicted felon," said Lockwood.

Lockwood asked for, but did not get his client a low bond. To explain why not, the court commissioner pointed to what happened just days after the credit union robbery.

"I also note that other individuals including family members noted that she had changed her appearance, cut her hair, um, coloredit blond, the apartment that she had been living in um, was vacant," said Rosa Barilllos, court commissioner.

Bond was set at $10,000 cash.