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Criminal complaint: Wis. inmate tried to dig his way out of jail

The inmate was “literally trying to chisel his way out of jail” with a sharpened 3-foot metal section of his bunk, the ADA said


Deputies also found multiple ripped shirts and bed sheets that were tied together in Todd Templeton’s cell.

Dane County Sheriff’s Office

By Ed Treleven
The Wisconsin State Journal

MADISON, Wis. — A former Stoughton man, awaiting sentencing in federal court for bank robberies last year in Stoughton, Madison and Tennessee, tried last month to dig his way out of the Dane County Jail, and torn shirts and bedsheets tied together were also found in his cell, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

After another jail inmate mentioned Todd A. Templeton’s apparent plot, the complaint states, Templeton called him “a (expletive) rat,” and lamented, “I’m tired of all these (expletive) rats in this place.”

Templeton, 52, pleaded guilty in November to robbing Associated Bank, 117 King St. in Stoughton, on Feb. 24; Associated Bank, 4407 Cottage Grove Road in Madison, on March 3; and a SunTrust Bank in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on March 11.

Each of the bank robberies carries up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is set for March 17 before U.S. District Judge William Conley. The new complaint charges Templeton with attempted escape and misdemeanor criminal damage to property. He also faces two vehicle theft charges in Dane County Circuit Court that were filed last summer.

Templeton appeared in court Thursday, where Court Commissioner Karie Cattanach ordered bail set at $500. Assistant District Attorney Cecilia DeMarco said bail was essentially moot, but added Templeton was “literally trying to chisel his way out of jail while being held there.”

According to the complaint:

On Jan. 13, an inmate in the City-County Building portion of the jail told a deputy, “The guy in cell F is trying to get out,” referring to Templeton, adding he could hear loud banging noises coming from the cell, as if Templeton was trying to pull the sink or the bunk off the wall. The inmate told the deputy he made a comment to Templeton about what he was doing, and Templeton responded by putting his finger on his lips and saying, “Shhhh.”

Templeton initially refused to come to his cell door, but once he was taken to another cellblock, deputies found that a 3-foot metal section of his bunk had been removed and sharpened into a chisel that was being used to chip away at a concrete block under Templeton’s bunk. A hole in the wall was about 6 inches in diameter and several inches deep.

Templeton earlier had been accused of putting another hole in his cell wall and claimed he hadn’t done it but told another inmate that since he faced discipline for that, he would actually make a hole that would be worth the discipline.

Deputies also found multiple ripped shirts and bed sheets that were tied together. Some were used to wrap other pieces of metal, including a strip of metal about 6 inches long that had been removed from the mirror in Templeton’s cell. It was also sharpened.

According to a federal court document, two days after the Stoughton bank robbery, Templeton got into a fight with his brother, stole a snowmobile from a home about a mile away and drove it two miles before crashing it, then was found without shoes on the porch of a town of Dunn home.

He was taken to UW Hospital with exposure injuries. A Stoughton police detective visited Templeton’s brother and noticed a vehicle parked there was similar to the one used in the bank robbery. Shown a photo of the robber, Templeton’s brother said it looked like Templeton, the document states.

On March 2, Templeton left UW Hospital against medical advice, went to his brother’s home and took his pickup truck.

The next day, the Associated Bank on Cottage Grove Road was robbed by a man fitting Templeton’s description. Templeton’s brother identified his truck from city street video as one seen in the vicinity of the robbery and identified his brother from video stills taken inside the bank. Templeton’s DNA also matched DNA recovered from a note left during the robbery, according to the document.

After the bank robbery in Chattanooga, FBI agents found Templeton in Bradley County, Tennessee, just east of Chattanooga. He admitted committing the bank robbery there, the document states.

(c)2022 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

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