A woman who pleaded guilty last month to robbing two Salin Bank branches was sentenced to serve four years behind bars despite pleas from her parents for leniency and for help to treat her mental illness.
Tiffany M. Whisman was sentenced to serve four years of a 12-year sentence, with eight years suspended and four years of probation, Tuesday in Allen Superior Court. Whisman pleaded guilty July 6.
Whisman admitted she entered the bank at 10:33 a.m. Oct. 26, wearing a black scarf and sunglasses to obscure her face and her hand wrapped in a plastic bag and demanded money. The teller at first didn't realize it was a robbery, resulting in Whisman announcing she was robbing the bank. She allegedly took $385 and walked toward Blackhawk Apartments, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
Police used a K-9 officer to track her but didn't find her. Police instead found a black scarf in a driveway that the teller said the suspect wore. It was sent to the Indiana State Police lab for DNA testing but didn't match anyone.
Whisman was charged with another Salin Bank branch with Lori J. Williams, who told police Whisman allegedly bragged about robbing a Salin Bank near Georgetown. Police obtained a DNA body standards warrant, in which one of Whisman's hairs matched the black scarf, the affidavit said.
In the February case, Fort Wayne Police responded to the robbery at 1:50 p.m. Feb. 21 at Salin Bank, 9835 Lima Road, after a woman wearing a surgical mask, red sweater and sunglasses entered the bank and handed a teller a handwritten note demanding cash. She was given an undisclosed amount of cash and left the bank in a green car, according to a police report.
Officers observed a green vehicle and a woman who fit the description given of the robbery suspect in the 4400 block of Bluffton Road. Officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and detained Williams. Whisman had been dropped off at the Family Dollar store just prior to the traffic stop. A police officer and a Fort Wayne K9 officer tracked Whisman to the rear of the store, where she was found hiding behind a large dumpster. Whisman was detained without incident, the report said.
Williams was sentenced June 20 in Allen Superior Court to three years of probation.
Whisman's mother said she was "cautiously optimistic" her daughter would change her ways, while her father said she would have to address her mental illness and substance abuse issues "one step at a time." Whisman cried and covered her face as her parents addressed the court.
Gull said Whisman's lengthy criminal history, dating back to 1999, and escalation of felonies "frightens me" as she sentenced Whisman to the Department of Correction, despite being found eligible for home detention.
Whisman was ordered to pay $1,394 in restitution to Salin Bank for the February robbery and $385 in restitution to Salin Bank for the October robbery.
She has 161 days' jail credit.