FROM FOR THE RECORD (Thursday, January 15, 1998): Correction Lisa Dressel is accused of robbing more than $5,000 from five Spokane banks between Dec. 15 and Jan. 8. A toy gun was used in only the first robbery. A story in Wednesday’s paper stated otherwise.
Mike Dressel thought he knew his wife pretty well.
They had been sweethearts since 15, dates at Shadle Park High School, a married couple since 1988.
But Lisa Dressel’s bank-robbing spree was a secret until police showed up at his door last week with a photo of the bandit.
Then came another stunner: his wife’s confession and her claim that she had robbed to stave off foreclosure of their north Spokane home.
He said he assumed Lisa, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom who handled the household finances, had been paying the mortgage.
“She’s saying everything’s fine, and I’m believing her,” he said.
With Mike Dressel and his in-laws watching Tuesday in federal court in Spokane, Lisa Dressel pleaded not guilty to an initial bank robbery charge.
Lisa Dressel, armed with a toy gun, stole $1,742 from five banks between Dec. 15 and Jan. 8 to pay off the mortgage company, she admitted to the FBI.
She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The crimes clash with Dressel’s clean record and reputation as a top-notch neighborhood baby sitter.
“This whole matter is, quite frankly, perplexing,” said U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Hopkins agreed. “It’s clear at this moment she’s not been thinking straight,” he said.
Imbrogno released Dressel from jail on $30,000 bond, ordering her to remain at home, stay in contact with her lawyer and family, and get a psychological evaluation.
Noting the presence of family members, the judge concluded there was little risk of Lisa Dressel fleeing.
The Dressels, according to county records, are $6,000 behind on payments for their tan, one-story rambler at 401 W. Jay.
Lisa Dressel told the FBI that she robbed three banks Thursday morning because her home was to go into foreclosure at noon that day.
Mike Dressel said he gave his wife money to make payments. “I have no idea where the money is,” he said.
He said he never saw the foreclosure notices sent to the house, including one nailed to the door last week, just before it was sold on the courthouse steps.
Angry that his house could be taken without his knowledge, Dressel said he is brokering a deal with Pacwest Homes Inc., the mortgage company that bought it Friday for $74,600.
“Anybody in their right thinking would go refinance before letting their house go into foreclosure,” said Dressel. “It shouldn’t be legal to do that without the owner’s signature.”
Dressel refused to disclose his occupation, but said he and his wife own several rental properties.
His wife will likely return home today. She’s refused requests for interviews.
Her husband said he is baffled by his wife’s desperate acts.
“I think it was a cry for help,” he said.
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