Scarecrow Bandit Sentenced to Nearly 16 Years in Federal Prison Without Parole on Bank Robbery and Firearm Convictions
Defendant Served as “Lookout” for the Group
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 18, 2009|
DALLAS—The first of the “Scarecrow Bandits,” a group of seven who committed a series of violent “takeover” style bank robberies in the Dallas area between January and June 2008, was sentenced late yesterday, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Yolanda McDow, a.k.a. “Yo,” 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to 190 months in prison and ordered to pay $336,976 in restitution for her role in the armed robberies. Dow pleaded guilty in July 2009, just one week before her scheduled trial, to three counts of bank robbery, two counts of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to conspiracy to commit bank robbery.
McDow pleaded guilty to the five robberies in which she participated as a “lookout” for the group. In addition, following her arrest, she cooperated in the investigation and testified for the prosecution at the trial of five co-defendants.
These five co-defendants, Corey Deyon Duffey, a.k.a. “Keyno,” a.k.a.“Calvin Brown,” 29; Tony R. Hewitt, a.k.a. “PricelessT,” 43; Jarvis Dupree Ross, a.k.a. “Dookie,” a.k.a.“Dapree Dollars,” a.k.a. “Fifty,” 30; Charles Runnels, a.k.a. “Junior,” 43; and Antonyo Reece, a.k.a. “Seven,” 32, were convicted at trial in August 2009. All were convicted on all but two counts of the superseding indictment that charged multiple counts of conspiracy to commit bank robbery; bank robbery; attempted bank robbery; and using firearms in relation to crimes of violence. Runnels was also convicted of one count of assault of a federal officer. Ross was also convicted on one count of kidnapping. Duffey, Hewitt, and Runnels were each convicted on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, while Ross was convicted on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sentencing dates are currently set as follows: Duffey - January 28, 2010; Hewitt - March 18, 2010; Ross - February 11, 2010; Runnels - January 21, 2010; and Reece - February 4, 2010.
Another defendant charged in the case, Darobie Kentay Stenline, a.k.a. “Fish,” a.k.a. “Dude White,” 31, also pleaded guilty the week prior to trial to various conspiracy to commit bank robbery, bank robbery and firearms charges. He, too, faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison; his sentencing is set for January 14, 2010.
The defendants were known as the Scarecrow Bandits by the FBI because they wore loose, sometimes plaid, shirts and floppy hats during the first several of the 21 robberies they are believed to have committed. During later robberies, however, their outfits changed to mostly black gear and they wore masks, gloves and body armor. At trial, the government presented evidence that the defendants conspired together to commit, committed, or attempted to commit, several armed bank robberies, as listed below:
- June 2, 2008: Regions Bank
2245 West Campbell Road, Garland, Texas
- May 2008: Bank of America
1431 Spring Valley Road, Richardson, Texas
- May 2008: Bank of America
534 Centennial Road, Richardson, Texas
- May 16, 2008: Bank of America
4751 South Hulen Road, Fort Worth, Texas
- April 24, 2008: Bank of America
7300 North MacArthur Blvd., Irving, Texas
- March 28, 2008: State Bank of Texas
517 West Interstate 30, Garland, Texas
- March 28, 2008: Century Bank
3015 Frankford Road, Dallas, Texas
- February 1, 2008: Comerica Bank
1483 North Hampton Road, Desoto, Texas
- January 28, 2008: Citibank
2720 Beltline Road, Garland, Texas
According to evidence presented at trial, each robbery was well-organized and researched, executed with precision and discipline, and involved aggressive use of firearms (including assault rifles) and tasers by the defendants. The defendants routinely terrorized bank employees by pointing handguns within inches of their faces and threatening violence if their orders were not obeyed. In fact, in one robbery, a taser was discharged on a bank employee. They communicated using cell phones and walkie-talkies and generally spent less than two to three minutes inside each bank. Additionally, they always used stolen cars for their getaways.
The defendants were arrested in June 2008, after a foiled bank robbery in Garland, Texas. When law enforcement attempted to arrest Hewitt, who along with Duffey were the group’s leaders, he used his vehicle to lead them on a high-speed pursuit, attempting to avoid apprehension by entering a Costco store in Plano, Texas, where he was arrested after law enforcement was compelled to evacuate the store. The same day, when law enforcement attempted to arrest Ross, who was in the same vehicle as Duffey, Duffey dropped Ross off at an apartment complex where he broke into an apartment and kidnaped an innocent victim at gunpoint, in hopes of thwarting apprehension. When law enforcement attempted to arrest Runnels and Reece, not only did they attempt to flee from law enforcement, but Runnels used his vehicle to ram the vehicles of the pursuing law enforcement officers.
U.S. Attorney Jacks praised the excellent investigative efforts of the Dallas, Richardson, Garland, DeSoto, Irving and Plano Police Departments and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay, John Kull and Jay DeWald.