October 18, 2021

Joliet rocker did bank robbery to keep band together: prosecutors

Convicted robber awaits sentencing next week in federal court

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Prosecutors have requested a Joliet man convicted of bank robbery receive a “substantial period of incarceration,” and said he did the crime to obtain money he needed to keep his eponymous band together and pursue “his grand plans for a rock career.”

Last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Rubenstein and 60-year-old Thomas Tynan’s attorney Daniel Hesler filed memos in federal court that detailed their recommendations for Tynan’s sentencing. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

On June 23, Tynan pleaded guilty to robbing $938 in cash from First Midwest Bank at 1415 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet on Sept. 19, 2019.

Rubenstein’s memo requested Tynan receive “the high end” of the 33 to 41 months’ imprisonment range based on Tynan’s criminal history, his continued misconduct while on release and his continuing efforts to shift the blame to everyone but himself.

Hesler’s memo characterized Tynan’s bank robbery as a “cry for help” from a man who suffered emotional, psychological and financial issues throughout his life and who “vacillated between thoughts of suicide and working to keep things afloat.”

“Between the choices of suicide and bank robbery, bank robbery somehow made sense to him,” Hesler said.

Hesler argued that Tynan’s incarceration is not “likely to forward his rehabilitation” and the rapid spread of COVID-19 in federal prison facilities poses a serious risk to Tynan, given his age and health issues.

He also said Tynan had a “problematic relationship” with First Midwest Bank.

“When his business struggled, they charged him an unrelenting string of fees totaling into thousands and thousands of dollars,” Hesler said.

Rubenstein said Tynan led a privileged life and while he was in debt, he was “far from destitute and he continued to live life well.” Tynan did not need money the way addicts or homeless defendants do when they rob banks, he said.

“He simply wanted to live life his way, leading his rock band and fostering his own ego and nascent fame,” Rubenstein said.

Tynan was the front man for a band named TYNAN and he “incurred a significant amount of debt trying to finance TYNAN with an eye toward stardom,” Rubenstein said.

Rubinstein argued Tynan’s robbery was not a cry for help but an attempt to get money.

“He needed money so that he could keep his band together in order to pursue his grand plans for a rock career … Indeed, as the front man of TYNAN, he apparently considered himself to be on the verge of fame and celebrity,” Rubenstein said.

Just a month before the robbery, TYNAN was invited to be an opening act for the band Chicago during its 2020 national tour and for an appearance on public television station WTTW, he said.

Tynan reportedly accumulated more than $65,000 in debt to various creditors, his bandmates and other expenses related to his band, according to Rubinstein. In June 2018, Tynan commenced a scheme to steal more than $300,000 from a bank account belonging to his disabled stepmother, he said.

Rubenstein criticized Tynan’s inability to express remorse and how he shifts the blame over his past crimes.

He said Tynan blamed his 2004 sentence for conspiracy to help a murderer escape from prison on “the Russian mafia” and claimed he did the crime “under duress, notwithstanding that he was going to be paid $1 million for his role.”

“The subject of the escape was no ordinary prisoner, but a man then charged with — and now on death row for — kidnapping five people for ransom and then killing those hostages by suffocation,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein also argued Tynan's arrest in the robbery case did not stop his criminal behavior. He cited his Joliet Walmart retail theft arrest in August and an incident in January where he threatened his employer over a claimed $500 bonus by saying to a manager, "If these (expletive) don't pay me, I will shoot someone in the face."

Hesler said Tynan’s therapist noted he was making progress in his counseling but that it has “been sort of a two steps forward, one step back kind of progress.”

"This progress will not be improved by putting Mr. Tynan into custody," he said.

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News