Regional Law Enforcement Focused on Deterring Bank Robberies
The FBI Washington Field Office, with law enforcement partners on the Violent Crimes Task Forces in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, is proactively working to counteract bank robberies this holiday season.
For the past two years, a quarter of all bank robberies in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia have taken place in the month of December. Additional analysis shows that the number of bank robberies committed in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia tripled during this one month of the holiday season. Law enforcement is actively sharing information with banks and the public to create heightened awareness of this issue and warn individuals who may be inclined to rob or attempt to rob banks of law enforcement’s increased focus.
In December 2013, there were 17 bank robberies committed in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Of those robberies, 13 have been solved. The majority of bank robberies committed during this time frame involved “crews” of robbers who hit more than once or were committed by lone serial robbers.
Between October and December 2013, a crew of three men, James McNeal, Alphonso Stoddard, and James Link, committed a series of four armed bank robberies in Maryland and Northern Virginia. The men were arrested immediately after robbing a bank in Arlington, Virginia, on December 31, 2013. On September 19, 2014, Link was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison, and on November 7, 2014, McNeal was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Stoddard received three concurrent life sentences in prison due to prior convictions for armed bank robberies.
The FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force works to combat bank robberies in Washington, D.C. The Northern Virginia Violent Crimes Task Force partners include Alexandria, Arlington County, Falls Church, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Herndon, Leesburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, Vienna, and Virginia State Police Departments; and the Fauquier County and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Offices.
The FBI Washington Field Office has dedicated resources to team with local police departments to visit banks that may be susceptible to a bank robbery based on past history. Members of the Violent Crimes Task Forces are working with personnel from financial institutions to prevent a rise in bank robberies by providing educational sessions for tellers and meeting with bank security personnel about common tactics employed by bank robbers during the last five years. The FBI Washington Field Office will be supporting police departments and sheriff’s offices with enhanced patrols of regional banks.
The Violent Crimes Task Force partners are asking the public’s assistance in being alert to individuals who act suspicious in or around a bank and to report that activity to the bank security manager or to law enforcement. The FBI offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of bank robbers.
To review photos and descriptions of subjects who have robbed banks in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, visit FBI’s website bankrobbers.fbi.gov.