msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/23/2010 7:59:54 PM ET 2010-12-24T00:59:54

A 26-year-old man thought he was doing a good deed when he gave a 70-year-old woman a ride to a Minnesota bank.

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But police say the woman robbed the bank, and the man was her unsuspecting getaway driver.

The man told The Free Press of Mankato that he thought the woman, who rents an apartment from his mother, was going to the bank to withdraw cash so she could pay back rent. His mother had recently begun eviction proceedings over unpaid rent, the Free Press reported.

Instead, employees of the Elysian State Bank reported Wednesday that an "elderly woman" told the teller she had a gun, demanded money and left with $3,700, according to The Star Tribune.

The bank's vice president followed the black Jaguar, calling in a description, location and license plate number as he went.

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Police stopped the car and, with guns drawn, ordered both occupants to the ground.

The woman repeatedly told police, “Luke had nothing to with it,” The Star Tribune reported.

The woman had a hammer but no gun, according to The Star Tribune . She's in jail, pending charges.

Found in the car along with the cash and the hammer, The Star Tribune reported: a pair of white rubber gloves and a 2011 Elysian Bank calendar.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Unwitting getaway driver seeks to clear name

  1. Closed captioning of: Unwitting getaway driver seeks to clear name

    >>> we turn to a story that caught our attention today. it begins with an act of kindness. a young man in minnesota volunteers to drive his neighbor, an elderly woman , to the bank. but that trip took an unexpected turn. the story from our minneapolis-st. paul station k.a.r.e. and reporter boyd hooper.

    >> reporter: it should come as no surprise luke is watching his sister's kids tonight. he likes helping people. like the 70-year-old tenant at his mother's apartment house who accepted his offer of a ride to the bank to get money to pay for her back rent. that's her walking into the bank shortly before she robbed it.

    >> she leaned over and whispered to the lady, you know, give me your cash, this is a robbie. i have a gun.

    >> reporter: jim hanson could be seen returning from lunch. he mixed the clunk on the counter and expected nothing. then bag in hand, the woman walked out.

    >> i said lock the doors, i'm going to go after her.

    >> reporter: jim followed luke 's car.

    >> sirens were blaring and the lights were going and he was spread out on the snow.

    >> she kept saying he had nothing to do with it, and i'm sorry, luke .

    >> reporter: that's luke being hauled off to jail, despite the pleas of the tenant, san a, pictured here after her own arrest. in her bag, police found $3,700 in cash, a small hammer, some rubber gloves , and the free 2011 bank calendar she picked up in the lobby. she remains in jail, while luke was released after a few hours, less angry at her a week later than he is concerned about clearing his name.

    >> i'm not saying i'm a perfect person in the world, but you know, i'll be damned if i rob a bank.

    >> reporter: a kind of robbery where the victims still have heart.

    >> hopefully she doesn't fall too far through the system and they're able to get her help.

    >> reporter: and everyone in town now has a story to share.

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