BLOOMINGTON (MCT) — A Bloomington man who reportedly robbed a financial institution because his family was facing eviction pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated robbery.
James Tourle, 39, admitted to taking $7,000 on Sept. 4 from a teller at the Municipal Credit Union during a lunchtime holdup. Tourle told the teller he had a bomb in his backpack and that he would “blow up a public place if things went bad and he had nothing to lose,” according to a statement read by Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Patton.
After consulting with defense lawyer Jeff Brown on Wednesday, the 39-year-old suspect accepted a plea deal that includes a maximum of six years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 16. He also is eligible for probation.
Tourle confessed to the robbery and directed police to the cash after he was stopped by police riding his bicycle about 10 minutes after the robbery.
According to Tourle’s stepson Richard Banks, the robbery was an act by a desperate man whose family was being evicted from their Tracy Drive home the morning of the incident.
“The day the eviction notice was supposed to go into effect, he decided to rob a bank,” said Banks.
The family, which includes Banks’ mother and 9-year-old sister, was evicted.
Tourle’s hard times stemmed from his difficulties getting a job because of a felony conviction he received in Michigan for writing bad checks, said Banks.
“He did factory work and fast-food jobs. When he lost that he reached the end of his rope,” said Banks.
Banks said the family learned of the robbery when Bloomington police came to the door after Tourle was in custody.