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FBI Queries Fugitives’ Friend About Bank Abduction And Robbery

September 7, 1985 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ The FBI says it has had little success questioning a federal prison parolee about two associates suspected of robbing a bank after abducting a bank executive and his family.

″He is not cooperating,″ FBI Special Agent H. Ernest Woodby said Friday of Richard Sweezy, 47, of Boston.

Police said Sweezy was picked up Thursday in Milwaukee after he was seen in a car believed used in Tuesday’s robbery of the Central Bank in suburban West Allis. Woodby said at least $1,000 in ″bank loot″ was found in the car.

People who were held hostage identified the robbers from FBI file photographs as two men with records of bank robbery who escaped from custody in Oklahoma, police said. They are Joseph W. Dougherty of Philadelphia and Terry Lee Conner of Terre Haute, Ind.

Woodby said Sweezy had been living in Milwaukee and apparently associating with Conner and Dougherty, who he presumably knew in prison. He said Sweezy may not have participated in the robbery.

Bill Dempsey of the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C., said Sweezy failed to report to parole officers as scheduled July 22 after being released in May from a prison sentence for bank robbery.

U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Stadtmueller said at least $285,000 was taken in the robbery. Woodby said the loss could be as much as $500,000.

Richard A. Woodcock, 52, executive vice president of the West Allis bank, said he and his wife, their daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend were held hostage by two gunmen who entered their home Monday night.

The next morning they were taken to the bank and Woodcock was forced to open a vault.

The hostages and about 20 bank employees were locked in a storage room before the robbers fled. None of the captives was injured.

The FBI said Conner, between 37 and 45, and Dougherty, 46, escaped from federal marshals in Oklahoma on June 19 while being taken to Dougherty’s trial for the 1982 robbery of an Oklahoma City bank. The jury, unaware of Dougherty’s escape, found him guilty.

Conner, already convicted in the case, was serving a 25-year sentence.