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Man who robbed Portage bank sentenced to prison

July 13, 2018 GMT

MADISON – A Madison man convicted of the Sept. 21 armed robbery of the Bank Mutual in Portage and a later Stoughton bank robbery was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 21 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $116,160.

Kenny Furdge, 25, pleaded guilty to the Oct. 17 armed robbery of the Home Savings Bank in Stoughton in which $137,160 was taken and stipulated to taking $136,039 in the Bank Mutual armed robbery.

After sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Anderson said he did not know of larger amounts taken in bank robberies in the 44-county Western District Court of Wisconsin.

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Co-defendant Jay’von Flemming also pleaded guilty and stipulated to the same armed bank robberies and is to be sentenced Aug. 3.

In each robbery, the defendants used pistols when entering the banks, pointed them at tellers and demanded money, Anderson said.

“These were frightening, violent robberies. Their faces were masked and one robber (who Anderson couldn’t identify) said, ‘I’m going to shoot her,’” referring to a Portage teller.

“You’re wondering if your life is a split-second away from ending when it’s in the hands of these … men,” Anderson said.

The victim impact statements, sealed from the public by the court, expressed the bank employees’ anxiety and “post-traumatic stress disorder, if you can call it that,” Anderson said.

District Court Judge James Peterson said he needed to impose a lengthy sentence on Furdge because “you scare people.”

Bank employees involved in a holdup can experience temporary and long-term traumatic injury from which they may not completely recover, Peterson said.

Furdge compounded the danger he poses to the public by driving in excess of 125 mph on Madison’s Beltline Highway while pursued by authorities after the Stoughton bank robbery.

Furdge crashed the car and was arrested with Flemming while trying to flee on foot. Money from the Stoughton bank robbery, and some from the Portage robbery, was recovered from the vehicle, Anderson said.

Furdge apologized for the harm he has caused his victims, saying his offenses were the foolish acts of someone who had thought only of himself.

In prison, he planned to “grow up, put this behind me and I’ll come out a better man,” Furdge told Peterson.

Peterson gave Furdge 14 years for the two bank robbery convictions and a mandatory consecutive seven years for using a firearm to commit a violent offense.

Furdge, who grew up fatherless in Chicago, turned to crime after going from foster homes to residential treatment programs to juvenile correction facilities, then to prison.

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The only extended period of time Furdge ceased committing crimes was when he served a three-year sentence in Illinois for robbery, Peterson said.

“I normally tell defendants that they need to stop associating with bad people, but that’s what you are,” Peterson said.

Furdge said he served a prison sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, leaving in 2013, but acknowledged that he has just begun to realize the consequences his crimes can have on others.

The Portage and Stoughton bank robberies are part of a crime spree Furdge engaged in, Peterson said.

Furdge is scheduled to go trial next month in Calumet County for the September 2017 robbery of credit union there and is to be arraigned later this month in Outagamine County for the alleged robbery of a gas station.