A man corralled 10 Dollar General Store customers into a back room Sunday as if he wanted to rob them at gunpoint and told them that’s what he intended to do.
But once Darrin Banks, 49, of Racine, had them in the back room, he made the store manager call dispatchers. But he didn’t have a gun. He just wanted to die, according to details released by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office.
Banks was charged Monday with 10 counts of false imprisonment and one count of obstructing a police officer. If he is found guilty of all charges, Banks faces up to 60 years, nine months in prison and/or fines up to $110,000.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were called Sunday to a report of a robbery in progress at the Dollar General Store, 4901 Washington Ave. Witnesses inside the store told police that Banks had 10 people he was holding against their will. They thought he had a gun.
At one point, he told them: “I’m going to rob this place, keep walking.”
Several people — including the store manager — had called 911 after Banks demanded that they go to the back of the store.
One of the customers told dispatchers at the Racine County Joint Dispatch Center that he was in “the corner of the store with seven other people.” Other callers said they weren’t able to answer their questions because they were scared and that Banks acted “like he had a gun.” He told them to “get back” and not to leave the store.
When officers with the Racine Police Department arrived on the scene, they found Banks outside the store. Demanding to be shot, Banks refused to comply with the officers’ orders. They tried to use their Tasers on him, but they did not work. He was then taken into custody before he could go back into the store.
During the investigation, officers learned from witnesses that Banks made the store manager call the Joint Dispatch Center. Banks demanded that the store manager tell the dispatchers that the store was being robbed.
Irritated with their questions, Banks took the phone away from him and put it on the counter. He then told the manager he didn’t have a gun and he did not intend to hurt anyone. He just wanted to die.
Banks is being held at the Racine County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 19, at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center.
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