By Bob Uphues
The man charged with robbing a Riverside bank in March pleaded guilty to the offense in U.S. District Court earlier this month and now faces up to 10-plus years in prison when he is sentenced early next year.
Robert A. Jocko, 58, entered a plea of guilty to Judge Thomas M. Durkin at a hearing on Dec. 5 in Chicago. Sentencing was delayed until after an evidentiary hearing set for March 20, 2020.
Jocko has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago since his arrest in Riverside shortly after he robbed First American Bank, 15 Riverside Road, of $1,465.
Federal prosecutors noted in the plea agreement entered on Dec. 5 that Jocko also robbed the PNC Bank branch at 6655 W. Cermak Road in Berwyn on March 12, and that he used a "dangerous weapon" in the commission of that crime.
The plea agreement details Jocko's criminal record, which stretches back to 1978 and includes 17 prior convictions for theft, burglary, escape/prison disturbance, possession of a stolen vehicle, battery and forgery, among other offenses.
At the time of the Riverside bank robbery, prosecutors stated, Jocko was under court supervision following a conviction in January for driving without a valid license.
Prosecutors said they would seek a sentence for Jocko of between 100 and 125 months, while Jocko's attorney will seek a sentence between 57 and 71 months, according to the plea agreement.
Judge Durkin is under no obligation to accept either sentencing request and can make his own determination, following an investigation conducted by the federal probation office.
Jocko, wearing a backwards-facing baseball cap, long dark coat, a surgical mask and bright orange gym shoes, walked into the rear entrance of First American Bank on the afternoon of March 18, walked up to a teller and said something the teller understood to mean he wanted to withdraw money from his account.
When she handed Jocko a withdrawal slip, he told the teller to "put the money on the counter" several times while placing a black plastic bag on the counter in front of him. The teller handed over the cash and Jocko fled from the bank – which is located across the street from the Riverside Police Department – shedding the baseball cap, coat and mask as he ran.
Police apprehended Jocko within minutes in the backyard of a home on East Quincy Street, about 200 yards east of the bank. According to police, witnesses identified Jocko as the bank robber, in part because of the bright orange shoes he was wearing.
In addition, police reported recovering $1,465 from one of Jocko's socks, a stash that included a $50 bill whose serial number had been recorded by the bank. Jocko reportedly had been living in Brookfield in the week prior to the Riverside bank robbery.