BETHALTO • A Madison County man was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in federal prison for his role in a staged bank robbery in Bethalto in 2014.
Eugene Babcock, 58, of Moro, played the role of a “robber” recruited by Matthew S. Liebheit, 40, then the manager of Liberty Bank.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, on December 13 of that year, Liebheit called police to report a bank robbery. He said a masked person forced him into the bank at gunpoint before the bank opened. He described the suspect's vehicle as a tan station wagon or crossover vehicle. He said he was forced to give the person more than $280,000 from the vault.
The story fell apart when Bethalto police spotted Liebheit's own truck leaving the bank after the robbery. The two had used a BB gun to make the holdup look real, prosecutors said.
In addition to the time in prison, Babcock was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $165,862 in remaining restitution. He had already returned $115,000 before his guilty plea.
In February, Liebheit was sentenced to more than three years in prison.