Documentary Coming Soon About Minnesota’s Famous Bank Robber, ‘The Fishing Hat Bandit’
Do you remember the Fishing Hat Bandit? He was a bank robber who terrorized Twin Cities Metro banks in 2004 and 2005. There were over 20 banks robbed by a guy who wore a fishing hat. The FBI worked tirelessly to eventually catch him using criminal profiling and evidence.
John Whitrock was 56 years old when he committed the robberies. He eventually did plead guilty to robbing 21 banks in the course of his spree. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Whitrock had a bizarre wrap sheet of crimes over the years. He had pulled a gun on a man in a VFW restroom in 1993. In 1992 he was arrested for cross-dressing, which apparently was illegal back then. He was also arrested multiple times for shoplifting, including once at the Burnsville Mall where he was caught stealing hair coloring supplies.
It's a very bizarre story that took place before social media. YouTube wasn't really a thing yet, but someone did upload a recording of KMSP 9 doing a feature on it if you want to learn more.
Local filmmaker Mark Brown launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a documentary about the Fishing Hat Bandit. The documentary would focus on the man behind the crime spree, and the lifelong effect those robberies had on the victims. Whitrock was released in 2018 from prison and appears in the documentary.
In late June, producers announced that they had exceeded their Kickstarter campaign goal of raising $25,000 for the documentary. The footage has been all shot, and a rough cut editing was underway as of June 30. They now say they have the funding to polish the documentary and will keep us updated.
I've reached out to producers and asked when they hope to have the documentary premiere, and on what platforms. They told me it will definitely be in 2023, and they will be doing the film circuits. You can follow their Facebook page for more updates.