Sangamon County Sheriff Department  /  AP
Alfred Ginglen is seen in a booking photo from Aug. 31, 2004.
updated 12/29/2005 1:40:30 PM ET 2005-12-29T18:40:30

A family man once regarded as a pillar of his community was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for a string of bank robberies after being turned in by his own sons, who had recognized him from a surveillance photo.

The judge issued the minimum sentence for Alfred Ginglen, 64, a grandfather of seven and a former Marine.

“You pose a dilemma in trying to figure out what in the world happened to you,” U.S. District Judge Jeanne Scott said. “I, too, have struggled with that. For over 60 years of your life, you lived an exemplary life. ... It’s very, very sad, but it’s where we are.”

Given the chance to speak before receiving the 481-month sentence, Ginglen started to speak, stopped for 90 seconds to compose himself, and then said, "I'd like to apologize to everyone."

Ginglen, of Lewistown, pleaded guilty in July to seven counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence. He was accused of stealing nearly $60,000 from five small banks during a a nine-month spree between November 2003 and July 2004.

Son saw bank video
Ginglen’s double life — which authorities allege included a girlfriend, drugs and prostitutes — started to unravel in August 2004, when one of his sons, Peoria police Officer Jared Ginglen, saw bank surveillance videos posted on a law enforcement Web site and recognized his dad behind sunglasses, a dust mask and driver's cap.

“There are no winners here today. The whole thing has been a tragedy for my family,” Jared Ginglen said after his father’s sentencing.

In interviews before the sentencing, Alfred Ginglen’s three sons said they had no regrets about turning in their father.

"He turned to crime, and we had an opportunity to stop it," said Clay Ginglen, 36, a music teacher in his hometown of about 2,600 people. "He was robbing banks with a gun. He could have easily hurt anyone — a bank teller, a policeman. He could have been hurt as well."

Garrett Ginglen, 41, a Caterpillar Inc. engineer, recalled that he broke into a sweat and threw up in his office trash can when he called up the Web site photos.

"I felt like if I could I would get up and run as fast and far as I could," he said. "Just trying to get away from it and pretend like it didn't happen."

The three brothers quickly gathered at the Lewistown firehouse where Garrett and Clay Ginglen volunteer and decided to confront their father.

He wasn't home, but the sons found clothes that matched those worn by the robber. They called police, who arrested Al Ginglen the next morning outside the home of a woman authorities say he had been secretly seeing since the 1990s.

Gun, journal found
Along with a gun used in at least two of the robberies, the investigation turned up a journal Ginglen kept that prosecutors says details the robberies and the double life they bankrolled.

Ginglen wrote that he needed money to support his girlfriend and her daughter, and to pay for a $400 to $900 a week crack cocaine habit and hotel rooms where he romped with prostitutes, prosecutors said.

His sons say the family was oblivious to the nine-month robbery spree, which netted nearly $60,000 from central Illinois banks, and their dad's secret life.

"There's a lot of things we're upset about that weren't illegal," Clay Ginglen said. "Lying's not a crime, and lying was the biggest thing."

Al Ginglen told the Chicago Tribune the journal was a fictionalized outline for a book he planned to write. He declined an interview request from The Associated Press.

His sons, who say they have read only parts of the journal, rejected the explanation.

"I think it was a way that someone who was living a double life would try to keep track of his stories, to not slip up and get caught," Clay Ginglen said.

Laid off in 2002
In hindsight, Ginglen's sons now recognize clues that their father's life had been unraveling.

After being laid off for about a year when Maytag began shuttering its Galesburg refrigerator plant in 2002, he told his family he had landed a job collecting receipts from video games in bars and restaurants across central Illinois. He was away from home three to four days a week and called his sons frequently for money, they said.

"Looking back now, he was not behaving like he used to," Garrett Ginglen said.

Ginglen's sons hope their father someday realizes it was the lessons he taught them about doing the right thing, even under tough circumstances, that landed him in jail and may have saved his life.

"We knew he could be mad. It wasn't like we didn't mow the lawn when we were supposed to," Garrett Ginglen said. "But we also hoped that since he taught us all of this and raised us to be good, maybe someday the light bulb will come on."

Ginglen’s attorney, Ron Hamm, said he plans an appeal.

He said he believes evidence Jared Ginglen took from his father’s house, including clothing and a diary of his father’s activities, were illegally seized because the son is a police officer.

Jared Ginglen said he was off duty, out of his jurisdiction, and he went to the house to find his father and confront him, not seize evidence.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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