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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Serial Bank Robber Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

MINNEAPOLIS— Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, United States District Court Judge
Susan Richard Nelson sentenced Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat, formerly known as Mark
Edward Wetsch, to 168 months in federal prison for committing a series of bank robberies in
2011 and 2012. In late April and early May 2013, Arafat, dubbed the “Man-in-Black” bank robber,
pleaded guilty to six counts of bank robbery. Arafat also admitted responsibility for 25
additional bank robberies that occurred in the southern half of Minnesota in 2011.

In his plea agreement, Arafat admitted that from January 11, 2011, to January 3, 2012, he robbed 31
banks in Minnesota while wearing a black mask and brandishing a firearm believed to be real.
During the e robberies, Arafat took more than $110,000, in total, from the 31 banks.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the police
departments of Alexandria, Bloomington, Columbia Heights, Eden Prairie, Faribault, Gaylord,
Hastings, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Northfield, Orono, Prior Lake, Richfield, Savage, St. Paul, St.
Peter, and Shakopee; the sheriff’s departments of Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Nicollet,
Nobles, Sibley, and Wright counties; and with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol. The case
was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Deidre Y. Aanstad and
Kevin S. Ueland.

 

 

Updated April 30, 2015