Suspected serial bank robber commits suicide in jail

Benike pronounced dead in local hospital Saturday
Suspected serial bank robber commits suicide in jail

A 28-year-old man charged in federal court in a string of recent bank robberies in the Madison area has died after hanging himself while in jail.

Michael Benike was found hanging from a bed sheet at the Dane County Jail Friday morning and was taken to a Madison hospital.

Sheriff’s officials said Benike used a bed sheet as a ligature around his neck. He was immediately cut down and determined to be unresponsive.

Deputies initiated CPR and jail nursing staff provided medical attention, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

His family was able to see Benike on life support in the hospital that day.

Dane County sheriff’s officials said Benike died Saturday at the hospital.

Benike’s girlfriend, Tara Thousand, is still facing charges in connection with the bank robberies. She told investigators that the couple was robbing banks to support a heroin habit, according to the criminal complaint.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office is performing an autopsy on Benike. 

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