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Ex-Duluth h.s. hockey star gets probation for bank robbery

A former Duluth high school hockey standout who robbed the US Bank on Maple Grove Road in August apologized for his actions Thursday and received a probationary sentence, which includes at least a year of weekly reporting to a judge in a mental health court.

Anthony Luke Tomaino, 28, pleaded guilty in October to one count of simple robbery for the Aug. 16 robbery.

According to the criminal complaint, Tomaino entered the bank and yelled "Get down, everybody get down." He allegedly placed a green reusable grocery bag on the counter and pushed it through the window while ordering the teller to put the money in the bag.

Tomaino ran out the back door of the building toward the woods with more than $1,000. St. Louis County sheriff's deputies stopped the car Tomaino was driving on Rice Lake Road less than two hours later and took him into custody. Tomaino told police he had a gambling problem and was experiencing financial difficulties. He spent 107 days in jail.

"I'm very, very sorry for scaring the people in the bank," Tomaino told the court before being sentenced. "I have a lot of guilt. I've made that clear in treatment. I feel blessed to have the support I've had. I plan to be a better person upon completion of treatment in the next stage of my life. ... I'm very sorry for the people in that bank, and if there were anything I could take back, it would be that day."

Judge Sally Tarnowski granted Tomaino a stay of imposition of his sentence and placed him on four years of probation. The crime is punishable by a presumed stayed 18-month prison sentence.

Under a stay of imposition, a prison sentence is delayed provided that the offender complies with the probationary conditions established by the court. If the offender complies with the conditions, the case is discharged. For civil purposes -- employment applications, for example -- the offender has a record of a misdemeanor rather than a felony conviction.

Among the conditions of the defendant's probation are that he not engage in gambling or enter a gambling establishment, that he abstain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs, that he's subject to random tests for drug and alcohol use and that he undergo a psychological evaluation and take part in any recommended treatment.

Tarnowski, who heads the "Mental Health Dispositional Sentencing Court" in Duluth, told Tomaino she has been impressed by his forthrightness in expressing his mental health problems and that he has had the benefit of a supportive family.

St. Louis County prosecutor Kristen Swanson stood, extended her hand to Tomaino, and wished him good luck as he was leaving the courtroom. He shook her hand and thanked her.

Tomaino was a member of the Duluth News Tribune's All-Area high school hockey team in 2000 as a Marshall School senior.