News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - June 9, 2009

ARMED ROBBERS RECEIVE SENTENCE

NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on Thursday, June 4, 2009, Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan, sentenced two individuals for the armed robberies of Lumbee Guaranty Bank and the Gold Factory jewelry store in Fayetteville, North Carolina. LARRY LAVONNE BERRY, 44, also of Fayetteville, North Carolina, received 302 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. DARREN EUGENE WALLACE, 43, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was sentenced to 170 months’ imprisonment followed by five years supervised release. Additionally, each defendant is required to pay restitution in the amount of $333,572.73. On November 6, 2008, BERRY pled guilty to bank robbery with a dangerous weapon, use and carry of a firearm during armed bank robbery, Hobbs Act robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which was charged by Criminal Indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury on August 27, 2008. WALLACE pled guilty on December 4, 2008, to armed bank robbery and Hobbs Act robbery, which was charged by Criminal Information, filed on that same day.

On March 6, 2008, BERRY and WALLACE entered the Lumbee Guaranty Bank in Fayetteville, displaying firearms and wearing masks. After emptying two teller drawers, which included bait money and a dye pack, BERRY and WALLACE escaped the bank on foot with $12,991.00. They entered a get-away car that witnesses were able to describe. Upon leaving the bank, the dye pack exploded. Later that day, BERRY visited co-defendant, Marcus Davis, who was an acquaintance that owned Xtreme Creations, an automobile shop. Davis assisted BERRY in his unsuccessful attempts to remove the dye stains from the stolen money. On March 23, 2008, the Fayetteville Police Department received two anonymous tips regarding the robbery. Officers, checking Xtreme Creations, ran a records check on an automobile parked at the business, which turned out to belong to BERRY. The get-away vehicle, also belonging to BERRY, was revealed during the check.

On April 2, 2008, BERRY and WALLACE robbed the Gold Factory in Fayetteville, North Carolina. WALLACE entered the store, posing as a customer. While WALLACE engaged the owner in assisting him with a sale, BERRY entered the store and approached the owner from behind, grabbing him and holding a gun to his head. BERRY and WALLACE forced the owner and his wife into the store’s office, where they bound the victims and stole their jewelry and money. BERRY then went back into the showroom where he smashed display cases and stole the jewelry from within. Money from the register was also taken. The silent alarm was activated by the owner when WALLACE walked to the front of the store. Approximately $313,411.83 in merchandise was stolen in the robbery and property damage totaling approximately $109.00 occurred. Davis was not involved in this crime.

Mr. Holding commented: “I want to commend the anonymous tipster and investigators for their work in this matter. Bank robbery poses a real risk to the public as serious dangers are introduced into our everyday lives by this type of crime.”

Davis was sentenced on April 9, 2009, to 12 months and one day for accessory after the fact.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fayetteville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Eric Evenson served as prosecutor for the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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