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Man charged in two bank robberies

July 28, 2009

A 34-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of robbing North Shore Bank branches in Wauwatosa and Milwaukee to get money to pay off a drug debt.

Joseph Martinez has been charged with two counts of armed robbery, and he is being held at the Milwaukee County Criminal Justice Facility until his preliminary hearing set for Aug. 5.

According to Wauwatosa police:

Martinez entered the bank at 87th Street and North Avenue at 9 a.m. July 21, with one hand in his pocket. He approached a teller and without saying a word, passed her a note that read, "I have a gun, give me $2,000."

He walked out of the bank with cash and got into a waiting vehicle.

That car was found outside a residence in Milwaukee, just outside of Wauwatosa. The owner, a 25-year-old Milwaukee man, said he had been asked by a friend to give him a ride to the bank because he had just received a large lawsuit settlement and was going to pay back a debt.

The driver's live-in girlfriend told police that her boyfriend is unemployed and sells crack cocaine to make money. She said Martinez and his roommates are among her boyfriend's clients. The driver, who has not been charged in connection with the robberies, was on probation for drug possession with intent to deliver.

Police interviewed the roommates, who said they met Martinez at a drug rehab facility. He had also told them about the legal settlement and they drove him to the Milwaukee branch at 79th Street and Capitol Drive the prior day to get money to pay back a loan.

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