Pubdate: Thu, 15 Sep 2005
Source: Watertown Daily Times (WI)
Address: 113-115 W. Main St., P.O. Box 140, Watertown, WI 53094-0140
Copyright: 2005 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Kevin Murphy
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


MADISON - The man who drove the getaway car for the March 31 Helenville 
bank robbery received the same 51-month sentence Wednesday in federal court 
as the one imposed last week for the man who entered the bank and pointed a 
replica gun at a teller.

Matthew Reller, 23, had agreed to drive Cody Shafer and Jason Hoffman, both 
19, from the American National Bank in exchange for one-third of the take. 
However, authorities quickly located the sedan Reller was driving and 
apprehended the men, weapons, both real and fake, and $19,998 in cash 
without incident.

Although Reller didn't enter the bank, the law holds any accomplice to a 
crime responsible for all the consequences of the offense, and the sentence 
reflects that, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita Rumbelow said after court.

Reller, like Shafer, admitted to ongoing drug abuse before planning the 
robbery after a night of binge drinking. Reller began drinking alcohol at 
17 and then using marijuana, escalating to several times a day just prior 
to the robbery, said District Judge John Shabaz.

Ordinance convictions for operating while Intoxicated and possession of 
marijuana in June and November 2003 didn't stop Reller from substance 
abuse, said Shabaz, who impose a sentence near the bottom of the federal 
guideline range.

"The pre-sentence report doesn't link drug abuse (to the crime), but you 
never sought treatment, never complained about anything, there's no reason 
offered for committing this crime," Shabaz told Reller.

Reller didn't offer a motive either but told Shabaz that he has regretted 
the robbery daily and apologized to the tellers.

Reller had graduated in 2000 from McFarland High School, attended the 
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Madison Area Technical College.

Reller's attorney Marcus Berghahn said that drug abuse was the only 
rationale for the crime as his client came from an affectionate and caring 

"Once his marijuana addiction is addressed he won't be a potential problem 
to re-offend," Berghahn said.

After scouting the roads in the Helenville area, Reller refused Shafer's 
request to enter the bank. While wearing ski masks, Shafer and Hoffman, 
brandished realistic-looking firearms inside the bank and demanded money 
from the tellers.

Reller was the first of the three co-defendants to plead guilty to armed 
bank robbery. Shafer, of Cambridge, was sentenced on Friday to 51 months in 
prison. Sentencing for Hoffman, of Lake Mills, is scheduled for Wednesday. 
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