Miami Man Sentenced on Firearms and Bank Robbery Charges

On May 1, 2010, a black male, dressed in royal blue surgical scrubs, and wearing a dark masklike nylon covering his face, entered the Bank of America located at 7215 W. Atlantic Boulevard in Delray Beach, Florida. Wielding a dark colored handgun he forced customers at gunpoint to lie on the floor and herded bank employees to the vault area where he made the bank manager open vault drawers. He also grabbed cash from numerous tellers’ drawers and then removed the dye packs before leaving the bank. Once calculated, the amount of the money stolen turned out to be in excess of $30,000 in cash.

Delray Beach Police were called and given the description of the suspect but were unable to find anyone in the vicinity who matched the appearance.

As their investigation continued, just three weeks later on Monday, May 21, 2010 at approximately 9:30 a.m., an individual who appeared to be the same man entered a Plantation BB&T bank branch located at 450 Pine Island Road. Demonstrating a similar method, he forced a customer of the bank down to the floor and covered his face with a black beanie. He then pointed his gun at a bank teller and ordered her to open the entrance to the tellers’ area. After gaining access, he filled a cloth sack with nearly $14,000 in cash and subsequently fled the bank.

This time he didn’t get far.

Plantation Police captured Bryan Whitehead, 32, of Miami, in a nearby gas station parking lot. Searching the suspect’s vehicle, the police found the firearm used during the commission of the robbery as well as the suspect’s disguise, and a police scanner. The stolen money from the most recent robbery was also recovered.

According to Sargent Al Butler, of the Plantation police department “One of our sergeants shut off the exit to the gas station and was checking each car individually when he came into contact with the person that fit the description. “One thing led to another and he ended up being positively identified by the bank personnel and the witness.”

After the conclusion of Whitehead’s trial he was recently sentenced before U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch for bank robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113(a), and the use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code: section 924(c). Zloch sentenced Whitehead to 471 months in prison (over 39 years) to be followed by five years of supervised release after his term of imprisonment is concluded.

In a FBI press release the terms of Whitehead’s sentencing was announced in conjunction by Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; W. Howard Harrison, Chief, Plantation Police Department; and Anthony Strianese, Chief, Delray Beach Police Department.

The press release can be read in full on the FBI’s Website by clicking here

Department of Justice (1349 Bank Robbery – General Overview): Click Here

Bank robbery is a Federal crime in the United States. A conviction of the commission of a bank robbery by using force or being furnished with a weapon can be extremely severe. These penalties include incarceration with the possibility of up to a lifetime sentence. Due to these facts, it is essential that if a person is charged with bank robbery or any Federal charge to directly contact a reliable attorney, with experience in the field of this felony in order to support the defendant properly.

Under the requirements of the bail reform act a Federal Magistrate Judge will decide whether any suspects will be entitled to a bond at their detention hearing. The Federal Magistrate Judge will also conclude if the defendant is moreover a danger to the community or flight risk before making their determination. It is therefore vital when charged with federal bank robbery to retain an attorney who is accustomed with federal bail requirements for this purpose.

Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer. He is rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of criminal trial law among lawyers in the state of Florida. The Florida Bar considers him a specialist in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried a multitude of cases throughout his 35 year career. He is a member of both the New York and Florida Bars. He is also admitted to practice law in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th & 2nd Circuit.

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