A "spur of the moment" decision led a Waukesha woman to allegedly rob the Waukesha State Bank on Dec. 13, according to a criminal complaint.
Melissa K. Monreal, 37, was charged with one count of robbery of a financial institution. She appeared in Waukesha County District Court on Friday, Dec. 16. A judge set her bond at $50,000. If convicted Monreal faces up to 40 years in prison.
Monreal was taken into custody on Thursday, Dec. 15. According to the complaint, Monreal admitted to robbing a bank because she needed money. Upon her arrest, Monreal told investigators she had she lost her job, and needed money for the holidays and to get a permanent place to live.
She picked Waukesha State Bank because it was close by and she had been there before, the complaint said.
According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha police responded to a hold-up alarm at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13. Employees told officers a woman came into the bank, passed a teller a note demanding money, and left with just over $600 in cash.
A bank teller told police that the woman – described as approximately 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighing approximately 115 pounds and wearing a white ear bandana and a jacket hood over the top of her head – was very soft spoken and quiet.
The teller admitted she was frightened and didn't recall all of what the note said. According to the complaint, Monreal later told police she quickly wrote out a note at her house that said something like "calmly give me all the money in your drawer and leave me without any cops or craziness."
Upon reading the note, the teller immediately reached over and pressed the emergency button under her counter. The complaint said the teller then opened the cash drawer and put the money on the counter in front of the women in a stack. The woman then leaned over and asked if the teller if she had any more in her drawer. The teller grabbed more money and put it on the stack.
The complaint said the woman grabbed the note before she took the money, then turned around and walked out of the bank through the main entrance.
The woman did not threaten the teller or tell her that she had a weapon, according to the complaint.
The Waukesha Police Department was able to obtain video surveillance from the incident, which in turn was shared with local media as well as on social media as police sought information.
The complaint said a sister and a daughter of Melissa Monreal came forward and identified her as the woman in the surveillance image.
The complaint said the daughter noticed her mother leaving the house at 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 13 wearing the daughter's hooded sweatshirt and Bearpaw boots. The daughter mentioned the mother would often stay with her boyfriend in South Milwaukee.
The complaint said officers later made contact with the boyfriend, who confirmed that the individual in the surveillance image was his girlfriend.
The boyfriend said Monreal allegedly told him she was involved in a Waukesha State Bank robbery and that she acted alone.
After the robbery
After leaving the bank, Monreal ran halfway across the parking lot and walked to the bus transit center downtown to see when the next bus would come, according to the complaint.
Then, she went inside bus station bathroom, she altered her clothing, switching from the blue hoodie to her gray hoodie that was underneath and tucking the white hat into her sweatshirt. She walked out of the main doors and began a long walk from the transit center to Kohl's Department Store on East Moreland Boulevard via Main Street.
According to the complaint, Monreal stated she went into the bathroom at Kohl's and flushed the bank note, then counted the money, which amounted to $620 or $650.
Monreal told investigators she she used some of the bank money to buy a change of clothes at Kohl's, then again went into a bathroom to change.
After leaving Kohl's, she then took a bus to Brookfield Square and then to Moe’s on Bluemound Road and Highway 100.
Monreal allegedly told investigators where she put the clothes that she wore during the robbery. The clothes were located in a trash can on 35th Street and Greenfield Avenue. The complaint said the clothing was consistent with the clothes that the defendant wore on the video surveillance from Kohl’s.
Monreal, who had texted her boyfriend to let her know where she was, met up with him. After stopping by a Walgreens at 27th Street and National Avenue to buy shampoo, razors and cigarettes, they went to the Motel 6 on 13th Street and College Avenue in Oak Creek, where they reportedly spent the night partying.
She stated at that point her boyfriend did not know anything about the robbery. But the next day, when they went to the boyfriend's parents house, his family showed them photos of the robbery from the news and Facebook. She kept telling his family that it wasn’t her in the picture.
The complaint said Monreal's boyfriend pulled her aside. That's when she told him that she committed the robbery, stating that it was "a spur of the moment thing" and that she didn’t plan it out too far ahead of time.
Monreal allegedly said she and her boyfriend planned on leaving town. But she was arrested in Milwaukee at the home of a friend.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22.