Man Sentenced to More Than 20 Years in Prison for Armed Robbery of Farmers & Merchants Bank in Hoyleton, Illinois
Donald Ridley, 33, was sentenced to 246 months in prison on February 13, 2015, on a six-count indictment charging him with Bank Robbery, Carrying Using, and Brandishing a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence, Making a False Statement to a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, and Obstruction of Justice, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced. Following his prison sentence, Ridley will be on federal supervised release for five years. Ridley was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $115,098, as well as a $500 special assessment. The sentencing hearing follows a four-day jury trial in federal court in East St. Louis, Illinois, where Ridley was found guilty on all counts.
Ridley and co-defendant Johnson entered Farmers & Merchants Bank both armed with firearms, masked, and wearing gloves. They ordered the employees and a customer to the ground and Donald Ridley emptied the tellers’ drawers and the bank vault while co-defendant Johnson pointed a firearm at the employees and customer inside the bank. The robbers left the bank in a stolen truck carrying a plastic bag containing $115,098 of Federally Insured Deposits (bank money). Unbeknownst to the robbers, Ridley had also taken dye packs when he emptied the bank teller drawers. The dye packs exploded while the robbers were in route to their getaway vehicle and the tear gas caused Ridley to spit out the truck’s driver side window. This same truck had been seen by two Washington County farmers the day before. The farmers also noticed a white Mitsubishi parked in the same place the truck was parked on the day of the robbery. The farmers were highly suspicious and recorded the license plate of the car. The farmers called the police when they saw that the truck had been returned and the white Mitsubishi was speeding away. The robbery truck was processed by a crime scene technician and saliva was found on the driver’s side weather strip. This stain was the sputum of defendant Ridley and contained his DNA. The bank robbery proceeds were never recovered and both robbers have been ordered to pay restitution.
At Ridley’s sentencing hearing, the District Judge stated that armed robberies are one of the most serious federal offenses and victims of bank robberies have psychological scars that last well beyond the day of the robbery. The judge determined that a maximum guideline sentence of 246 months (20.5 years) was needed to protect the public from Donald Ridley and to provide deterrence to others. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois noted that the crime would not have been solved without the quick thinking of the local farmers in remembering the license plate of the car and reporting the location of the robbery truck. “These men provided the first lead and the most important link which enabled law enforcement to solve this robbery. Sometimes it takes more than police work to solve crimes—-it takes a watchful community.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.
This case was investigated by the Washington County Sherriff’s Department, the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deirdre A. Durborow.