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Man arrested in Wisconsin bank robbery allegedly left car keys in bank, hitched a ride

If a manual to successful bank robbery existed somewhere, one of the first rules might be "Don't leave the keys to your getaway car in the bank."

A heavily-tattooed man who was arrested in September, a day after police said he robbed a bank in Sun Prairie, Wis., hitched a ride from a stranger after the robbery because he had left his car keys at the teller window during the robbery, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

Alex Melton, 30, of Wisconsin Dells, appeared to be readily identifiable from the tattoos on his face, but police nailed down his identification after finding the keys to the car he had been driving and spoke with the friend who owned the car, who identified Melton as the man police were looking for, according to the complaint.

Melton was jailed on $20,000 bail after appearing in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday. In addition to a charge of theft from a financial institution, Melton faces five counts of felony bail jumping, all related to five felony cases he currently faces for prior alleged offenses in Sauk County.

According to the complaint:

Police were called to the Bank of Sun Prairie, 695 S. Grand Ave., about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 for a strong-arm robbery at the bank. A teller told police she was helping a customer at another teller's window when the customer said there was a "shady guy" pacing in the parking lot.

The man, later identified as Melton, came into the bank and gave a teller a flier with the words, "I'm robbing you," written on it. She handed money to him, and he left. Both of the tellers noticed the tattoos on Melton's face and neck. No weapon was seen during the robbery.

But Melton left behind a set of car keys at the teller's window, which police matched to a car parked nearby. Police found the man to whom the car was registered, who had no visible tattoos, and he said he had been with Melton just before the robbery. The man, a friend of Melton, said that Melton had dropped him off at a nearby store, and told him that he was going to rob a bank.

Another man, who was not identified by name in the complaint, told police he had just gotten off work from a job near the bank when a man with "a lot of facial tattoos" approached and asked for a ride to the Lake Delton area. The man said he was going in that direction, so he gave Melton a ride. As they were driving, Melton told the man that he had just robbed a bank in Sun Prairie by passing a note to a teller.

Melton was also identified by a surveillance video taken in the bank. After his arrest in Lake Delton on Sept. 28, Melton admitted to police that he robbed the bank.