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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Buffalo Woman Charged with Bank Robbery and Accessory After the Fact

 

          BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Sheila Cassata, 48, of Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with bank robbery and accessory after the fact. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $375,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on December 27, 2013, the defendant drove Michael Mitchell (charged in separate federal complaint) to a Key Bank located at 201 Amherst Street near Military Road in Buffalo. Mitchell told Cassata that he was going to get “coin rolls.” The defendant then went to a nearby fast food restaurant and waited for Mitchell to call. The complaint further states that after receiving a call from Mitchell to pick him up near the bank, Mitchell told Cassata to get him out of there quickly because he can’t be caught with a weapon. Cassata told law enforcement officers that based on his actions, she knew he had robbed the bank. Cassata then dropped Mitchell off and he paid her $100.00 for “driving him around.” 

Cassata’s arrest brings to 12 the number of defendants charged federally in a series of 22 bank robberies suspected to be related. A 13th defendant is facing state charges in the case.

Cassata made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott and was released on conditions. Michael Mitchell made an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and is being held pending a detention hearing on January 21, 2014.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack, the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Chief Bryan DalPorto, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard and the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Michael Ciminelli. 

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.