Conspirator in St. Mary’s County Bank Robbery Pleads Guilty
Conspired With Others to Rob the Bank, During Which the Bank Manager
and Her Two Minor Children Were Kidnapped
Greenbelt, Maryland - Quinita Jessie Ennis, age 30, of Lexington Park, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, armed bank robbery and making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm, in connection with the September 24, 2008 robbery of $169,900 from a bank in St. Mary’s County in which the bank manager and her two minor children were kidnapped from their residence, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to her guilty plea, Ennis started a relationship in 2005 with a conspirator who earned his living by selling illegal drugs. Ennis knew of her boyfriend’s illegal business and that he was a convicted felon, prohibited from possessing a gun. On June 20, 2008, at her boyfriend’s request and using his money, Ennis bought a 9 mm rifle from a gun shop in Lexington Park. She falsely represented that she was the actual purchaser of the rife, when in fact she knew she was purchasing the rifle on behalf of her boyfriend. Ennis gave him the rifle.
In the summer of 2008, as her boyfriend’s income from selling drugs dwindled, her boyfriend and another conspirator devised a plan to rob a bank in California, Maryland. Ennis participated in the discussions and agreed to assist in the robbery. Prior to September 24, Ennis and her conspirators observed the whereabouts of the bank’s manager, determining the time and route the manager used to leave her minor children in the care of another, and the procedures used by bank employees to open the bank.
On September 24, 2008, Ennis used her car to drive her conspirators to the bank manager’s residence. She knew that her conspirators were armed. Her conspirators, wearing masks and camouflage clothing, and brandishing the 9 mm rifle Ennis had purchased, kidnapped the manager and her two minor children, and drove the family to St. Mary’s County in the manager’s vehicle. Ennis kept in touch with her conspirators by cell phone. Her boyfriend got out of the vehicle in California, Maryland, and Ennis picked him up.
The other conspirator ordered the manager to drive to the bank and obtain funds from the bank, while the conspirator held the manager’s minor son hostage in her vehicle. The manager’s daughter was released. The other conspirator took $169,900 from the bank manager and forced the manager to drive him to an elementary school, where the manager and her son were released. The other conspirator drove the manager’s vehicle to a pharmacy in California, Maryland where he abandoned the vehicle. Ennis and her boyfriend picked him up and Ennis drove them back to her boyfriend’s house. Ennis received approximately $30,000 of the stolen bank funds, which she stored in a safe at her home.
Later that evening, Ennis and her conspirators traveled to casinos in New Jersey carrying tens of thousands of dollars from the bank robbery. Subsequently, Ennis made plans to resettle with her boyfriend in North Carolina. Also, on October 1, 2008, Ennis gave cash to a friend who agreed to purchase plane tickets for Ennis and her conspirators to travel to Las Vegas. At her boyfriend’s request, Ennis wired $9,000 in stolen bank robbery funds to her boyfriend in North Carolina.
Police searched the boyfriend’s home on October 3, 2008. Alerted to the police activity, Ennis removed the remainder of her share of the stolen funds from her safe and kept it in her purse when she went to work. When police arrived to speak to Ennis, they found approximately $16,105 in cash in her purse. Ennis was arrested.
Ennis faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy; 25 years in prison for bank robbery; and 10 years in prison for making false statements in purchasing the rifle. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron and the St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigation; St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz and his office; Calvert County Sheriff Michael Evans and his office and Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura L. Martin and her office; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Maryland State Police for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Steven M. Dunne and Stuart Berman, who are prosecuting the case.