FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - November 9, 2009
TWO SENTENCED IN ARMED BANK ROBBERY CASE
WILMINGTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that in federal court today Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced two defendants on charges relating to an armed bank robbery. VERNON RAY ATKINSON a/k/a/ “BJ”, 29, received 162 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release; while MARCUS ANTWAN WILEY 20, received 171 months’ imprisonment followed by five years supervised release. Each defendant was imposed restitution in the amount of $19,450.72. Both defendants are from Elm City, North Carolina.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on May 27, 2009. On August 3, 2009, each defendant pled guilty to conspiring to commit armed bank robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2113(a) and (d); aiding and abetting armed bank robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(ii).
On December 12, 2008, three men wearing masks entered the Branch Banking and Trust Bank (BB&T), in Elm City, North Carolina. The investigation revealed that co-defendant, Brian Lucas, went to the office of one of the bank employees and ordered the employee to get down on the floor. Meanwhile, another co-defendant, Anthony Atkinson, and WILEY jumped over the teller counter and demanded money from the tellers. Anthony Atkinson, carrying a handgun, kept waving it in the face of one of the tellers. WILEY gave a teller a white plastic bag and demanded that the teller put the money in it. The teller complied with WILEY’s demand and put money and dye packs in the bag. After receiving the money, Lucas, WILEY, and Anthony fled the bank with approximately $28,000.00 and hopped into a car driven by VERNON ATKINSON. VERNON ATKINSON then drove the four to a pre-determined location where they met co-defendant, Matthew Farr. Anthony, Lucas and WILEY then moved into Farr’scar, where those four then traveled to Sleepy Hollow.
Further investigation revealed that the dye pack included in with the money exploded as the robbers escaped the bank on their way to VERNON ATKINSON’s car and splattered on some of WILEY’s clothing.
Mr. Holding commented, “A bank robbery is one of the most frightening crimes affecting our citizens generally. It compromises our safety and security as we conduct our personal business. Therefore, we applaud the sentence imposed by the Court.”
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening represented 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.