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Law Student Goes to Jail, Misses Humor in Bank Robbery Note

September 19, 1989

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) _ A law student spent a night in jail after handing a bank teller a withdrawal slip on which someone had scrawled a holdup note.

Joseph Mulcahey, 23, said he was trying to withdraw $15 Sunday at the seven-day-a-week bank, unaware of the message on the back of the slip that read, ″Give me $10,000, I have a gun.″

The next thing he noticed was five to 10 policemen rushing in the door.

″They told us to get on the floor,″ said Mulcahey. ″I thought for a minute it was a hostage situation somewhere else in the bank.″

He was handcuffed, put in a patrol car and told he was being arrested for attempted bank robbery, said Mulcahey.

Police released Mulcahey from jail Monday, and he returned to classes at the University of Illinois law school. Bank officials called to apologize.

″It appears Mr. Mulcahey was the victim of an unfortunate hoax,″ said Gerald O’Neill, chief executive officer of the Marine Bank of Champaign- Urbana.

″The only one I am unhappy with is the person who wrote that note,″ Mulcahey said. ″It was a sick joke - a sad way to get a laugh.″

Of his night alone in a jail cell, he said, ″It’s pretty worrisome - scary.″

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