Woman accused of robbing Wyndmere bank reaches plea deal

Tessa Jaksa
Tessa Jaksa(Cass County Jail)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:09 PM CDT
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WYNDMERE, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The woman accused of holding up a small town North Dakota bank last July has reached a deal with prosecutors and has pleaded guilty in the case.

44-year-old Tessa Ann Marie Jaksa is charged in federal court with one count of bank robbery, after officers say she drove off with more than $7,000 from a Wyndmere bank.

Federal documents say Jaksa walked into the Lincoln State Bank on July 19, 2021 and told a teller, ‘I have a gun and I want all the money.’ The Richland County Sheriff’s Office later released photos of the pickup Jaksa was believed to get away in, as well as surveillance photos of her dressed in construction gear and a mask.

Documents say shortly after officials released the photos, a witness contacted officers from the People’s State Bank in Fairmount, N.D., and stated they spotted a woman matching the one in the released photos. Documents say another person later reported spotting a pickup similar to the one in the photos in a Moorhead apartment parking lot. The Moorhead witness told officers when they tried to get a better look inside the vehicle, they saw a woman who appeared to be trying to hide items in her vehicle.

Documents say agents with the FBI soon showed up to the apartment as well. Documents say Jaksa told officers, ‘You don’t need to get all these people involved. I f****d up. I knew I messed up as soon as I did it.’

Jaksa said she walked into the Fairmount bank shortly after the Wyndmere robbery with a loaded gun and intentions to rob it, documents allege. Jaksa told officers she knew it was wrong, got scared and eventually went back out to her car.

Jaksa pleaded guilty in federal court at the end of July 2022. In recent court filings, prosecutors state Jaksa ‘has demonstrated a genuine acceptance of responsibility,’ and state they will ask the court to sentence Jaksa to spend between 51 and 63 months in prison, as well as to pay restitution to Lincoln State Bank.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

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