Bank robbery has been a federal crime in the United States since 1934. This includes National banks, state member banks, savings and loans, credit unions, armored cars and related institutions that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC).
It was in the 1930’s when the John Dillinger gang also known as The Terror Gang caught the country’s attention wreaking havoc with their daring robberies of twenty-four banks. Since that era the FBI has become the leader of all investigations relating to any assault on the Federal Reserve System.
Dillinger became a folk hero to some when the press ran embellished accounts of his swagger and flamboyant personality, equating him to a then day Tony Soprano figure.
After a reign of terror spanning four separate states Dillinger was shot and killed while resisting arrest in a gun battle with FBI agents Melvin Purvis and Samuel Cowley.
Dijon Hudson is no John Dillinger.
Hudson, who is 21-years old, attempted to rob one bank and allegedly succeeded with robbing another. In both cases Mr. Hudson called in bomb threats minutes before he carried out each of his crimes in an effort to distract local police from being focused on his impending alleged actions.
According to FBI investigators, Hudson tried to rob a Popular Bank branch on Oakland Park Blvd. in Sunrise, toward the end of July after making a call to police emergency (911) warning the dispatcher that there were two bombs set to detonate within the next fifteen minutes. He told the 911 operator that the explosive devices could be found at a local branch of fashionable Health Club/Gym of Anytime Fitness.
The gym is located close to the Popular Bank also on Oakland Park Blvd.
Based on the threat, police temporarily evacuated the premises. Their search came up empty.
According to investigators, the day before this first attempt he did enter the bank saying he wanted to open a checking account. The investigators revealed that during his time in the bank he made a phone call to a person only identified as K.D.G. at this time.
After his call to 911 was made, Hudson showed up at the bank wearing a hooded sweatshirt zipped up over his head, dark pants and shoes with a mask over his face. He was carrying a black bag in his hand.
But he couldn’t enter the bank due to the fact that anyone trying to gain entry to that particular Popular Bank has to be buzzed in by an employee.
After not being allowed to get in he simply left the premises.
But it didn’t take long for Mr. Hudson to give it another try.
Again on the day before he planned his next robbery attempt, Hudson went to a Synovus Bank located on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. He also told a bank employee he wanted to open a checking account. And again, according the FBI officials he was having a conversation with the yet to be identified K.D.G. on his mobile phone.
The following day (July 25, 2019) he put his plan into action.
Entering the Synovus Bank, located in the vicinity of Southeast Seventh Street and Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, he entered the bank then hurdled over the teller’s stand wielding a gun in his left hand. He then quickly departed the bank driving away in a late model Ford Fusion. According to the criminal complaint against him, Hudson grabbed handfuls of cash; totaling over $7,500.
Using the same Modus Operandi, prior to the robbery he placed a call to 911 reporting a bomb threat to the dispatcher which was imminent at the Galleria Mall on Sunrise Blvd. The threat triggered an evacuation of the entire mall while police search and investigated.
But it was the sighted Ford Fusion getaway car that led agents to an unidentified woman who was later determined to be Hudson’s girlfriend. GPS data accumulated through the investigation indicated the phone was frequently located in the area of her residence. As detectives were in the process of interviewing her, calls seemed to be frantically coming in on her cellphone. During one of these calls via FaceTime, agents were given a glimpse of the caller in plain sight that was later identified as Hudson.
It was also determined that both bomb threat calls came from the same phone number.
The FBI then released information about the perpetrator and announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. An appeal was also posted on Twitter by the FBI asking for help from the public an announcing the reward.
It wasn’t long after the release of that material, including his picture that Hudson turned himself in to law enforcement officers at the Fort Lauderdale Federal Courthouse.
At this time the precise charges Mr. Hudson will face have not been filed. He’s been placed in federal custody. If tried by the state an armed robbery conviction, a felony in the first degree can hold a sentence of up to 30 years in a Florida State prison. A guilty verdict for federal felony bank robbery in violation of 18 USC 2113 can put you behind bars for a term of up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or both.
This story may be updated as this case moves forward.
Check back often.
Michael Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale based Criminal Defense Attorney specializing in the defense of federal crimes.
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