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'TV bank robber' sentenced to federal prison

KIMT News 3 reporter Adam Sallet watches as a suspected bank robber flees the scene of the bank robbery at Sterling State Bank on Dec. 15.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Rochester man who infamously robbed a local bank twice — the second time in front of a TV news camera — was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 10 years in a federal prison.

Ryan Russell Liskow, 37, will spend 115 months in prison after being convicted of two counts of bank robbery.

Though he was charged in U.S. District Court, much of the legwork of the case was done in Olmsted County.

Linking him to the robbery actually began Dec. 13, the day before the first robbery, when Rochester police received a report of a stolen vehicle. The caller believed Liskow had taken the vehicle, described as a white van with writing on the side.

On Dec. 14, the federal complaint says, Liskow entered the Sterling State Bank in Rochester, presented a handwritten note to a female teller and demanded $5,000 in cash. The teller handed over about $3,000, including bills with prerecorded serial numbers.


Though the note contained references to a gun and a knife, no weapon was displayed during the robbery.

The next morning, an officer doing follow-up on the vehicle theft report learned the owner's fuel card had been used Dec. 14 at a local gas station. A review of the surveillance footage from the business confirmed it was Liskow, and the officer realized he matched the description of the robbery suspect.

Authorities also learned Liskow was on federal probation for a bank robbery he'd committed in Minneapolis in December 2009. Liskow was recently released from prison, the report says, and had his probation transferred to Rochester on Dec. 7.

On Dec. 15, Liskow returned to the Sterling State Bank and robbed it again, court documents say. This time, he walked up to a male teller, handed him a note and demanded $10,000. The teller — who'd witnessed the robbery the day before — handed over about $1,500 in cash. Liskow asked for the money from the teller's till, which included some prerecorded bills.

He left the bank and jogged to a nearby white van with a company logo on the side.

Adam Sallet, a reporter with KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa, was outside the bank, preparing to do a live shot for the noon news with information about the Dec. 14 robbery. Footage from his camera shows Liskow entering the bank and jogging away a few minutes later.

The male teller also ran from the bank and told Sallet the robber had just struck again.

A vehicle and suspect description were sent to the Minnesota State Patrol, but troopers in the area were unavailable because they were on the scene of a fatal car crash north of Zumbro Falls.


Instead, a Rochester police officer on his way back from training in the Twin Cities saw the vehicle traveling northbound. The officer was in an unmarked vehicle, so he turned around and followed Liskow until other law enforcement arrived.

Liskow was arrested at gunpoint south of the House of Coates, near Brandel Drive.

According to the federal complaint, he had $1,458 in cash on him, including several bills with prerecorded serial numbers taken during the second robbery. An additional $1,000 was found in a backpack in the van, including one bill with a prerecorded serial number.

Liskow admitted to federal agents that he committed both bank robberies, saying he spent much of the money from the first robbery on illegal drugs, which he used.

A bag containing a substance that tested positive for cocaine was found on Liskow when he was arrested, and he appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time.

Liskow Ryan crime.jpg
Ryan Liskow

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