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Officer confesses to 7 bank heists, has no memory

SHARE Officer confesses to 7 bank heists, has no memory

He doesn't remember pulling on the ski mask or the latex gloves or brandishing his police-issue semiautomatic .40-caliber Glock pistol at frightened bank workers.

Still, Trenton police officer Christopher Kerins believes he is the "camouflage bandit" who committed seven bank robberies.Kerins, an undercover narcotics officer, pleaded guilty Wednesday to the robberies, telling a federal judge that bank photographs and other evidence convinced him he was the criminal.

The spree at five different banks netted nearly $50,000 from November 1995 to April 1996.

Bank photographs described in court showed the robber always wore a full-face ski mask and latex gloves and carried his service pistol. Kerins also conceded that the camouflage jacket found at his house matched the jacket worn during the robberies.

Defense lawyer Robert J. Fettweis thinks Kerins, who joined the police force in 1985, became addicted to heroin to escape nightmares and hallucinations that haunted him since 1989, when he shot to death a man who attacked him with a butcher knife.

His lawyers considered presenting an insanity defense but concluded that while Kerins suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, he didn't meet the stringent legal definition of insanity, Fettweis said.

Kerins, 41, faces about 10 to 121/2 years in federal prison without parole when he is sentenced Oct. 26.