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D.C. man pleads guilty to string of brazen bank robberies

- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2011

A D.C. man pleaded guilty Friday in connection with a 16-month string of brazen daytime bank robberies, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District said.

Jerome Thomas, 64, faces up to 20 years in prison for each of 11 counts of bank robbery and for one count of attempted bank robbery when he is sentenced on Aug. 25.

Authorities say the long-running robbery spree, which ran from November 2009 through March, netted Thomas more than $20,000. Each time he robbed a bank, Thomas claimed that he had a gun or a pipe bomb, although no weapon or device was actually seen.

The robberies typically took place in the late morning or early afternoon, with Thomas handing a teller a note making demands and threats, such as: "I Have a gun in my hand and 2 pipe bombs in my bag give me a stack of 100's and 50's and no one gets hurt." He typically took the money and fled on foot, leaving the note behind. No one was hurt in the incidents.

A tip led law enforcement to suspect Thomas was responsible for the robberies. Several law enforcement personnel thought the individual whose face was clearly visible in surveillance photos after the March 16 robbery resembled Thomas.

Law enforcement responded to Thomas's Southeast home to conduct surveillance. At about 7 that evening, Thomas arrived at the parking lot of his residence and was wearing clothing and jewelry seen in the bank robbery surveillance photos. He also had in his possession about $1,891.

When confronted with evidence from the string of robberies, Thomas admitted to each one.

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