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AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
MARCH 1, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 12 YEARS FOR BANK ROBBERY
Police Caught Fugitive Bank Robber After Random Check of License Plate
Baltimore, Maryland - Eric X. Clifton, age 50, of Baltimore, was sentenced today to 151 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for bank robbery, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg enhanced Clifton’s sentence upon finding that he is a career criminal based on two previous convictions for bank robbery. Chief Judge Legg, who was the sentencing judge in Clifton’s two previous bank robberies, also ordered Clifton to serve an additional eight months in prison, consecutive to the sentence imposed for the bank robbery, for violating his supervised release on his previous bank robbery conviction.
"Thanks to remarkable proactive police work by the Baltimore County Police Department, Mr. Clifton has robbed a bank for the last time," said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to his guilty plea, Clifton entered M&T Bank, 8413 Pulaski Highway, Baltimore on May 2, 2006 and ordered an employee at a customer service desk to give him $5,000 in $100 bills. Clifton demanded the money twice, leaned over the counter and told the bank employee that she should not hit any buttons. The bank employee then walked behind the teller line and told one of the tellers to give her $5,000 in $100 bills from the teller drawer. The teller gave the bank employee $1,600 in $100 bills, which was all she had in her drawer. The bank employee gave the money to Clifton, who put it in his front pocket and left the bank. Surveillance cameras within the bank recorded the robber at the teller counter during the robbery.
At about the same time as the robbery, two Baltimore County police detectives who were members of the Auto Theft Task Force were on routine patrol in the general area of the bank. As part of their ordinary duties, the detectives were randomly checking vehicle license tag numbers through the National Crime Information Center computer system. The detectives ran the tag number for a Lincoln Mark VIII vehicle traveling down the street. An outstanding arrest warrant was reported for the registered owner of that vehicle, who was Clifton. The detectives pulled the car over and the driver of the vehicle provided an identification card. The passenger in the vehicle had no identification, but eventually told detectives that he was Eric Clifton. After the detectives placed Clifton under arrest, Clifton told the driver of the car that he wanted to give the driver money to pay the driver’s mother’s electric bill. One of the detectives told Clifton that he could not do that and asked him where the money was located. Clifton motioned that the money was in his front pants pocket, from which the detective removed sixteen $100 bills.
The detectives told the driver that he was free to go. As the driver was walking away, the detectives heard a report of the bank robbery broadcast over the police radio and immediately called the driver back to the car. Shortly thereafter, other officers brought the bank employee to the scene of the stopped vehicle. The bank employee indicated that Clifton appeared to be the same person as the robber. The driver of Clifton’s car advised detectives that Clifton had asked him to drive with him to the bank that day and that he knew nothing of the robbery. He positively identified Clifton in a bank surveillance photograph taken during the robbery. Clifton confessed to robbing the bank and confirmed that the driver knew nothing of the robbery.
In each of his last two bank robbery convictions, Clifton was on supervised release from the prior bank robbery conviction.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Baltimore County Police Department, and commended Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who prosecuted the case.