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Newark, new jersey man sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for armed bank robbery that ended in shootout with law enforcement

May 13, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark, N.J. man was sentenced today to 225 months in prison for robbing a Bank of America branch in Franklin Township, N.J., on March 12, 2009, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Abdullah Muhammad, 57, of Newark, and his co-defendant, Anthony Peterson, 45, also of Newark, were convicted on November 9, 2010 on all three counts of the Indictment against them: conspiring to commit armed bank robbery, committing armed bank robbery, and using and discharging a firearm in connection with a bank robbery. A third co-conspirator, James Holmes, 56, also of Newark, pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery shortly before the trial started. United States District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, who presided over the trial, also imposed sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

The defendants entered the bank a few minutes before closing time on March 12, 2009, wearing masks and brandishing guns. In a little more than three minutes, the defendants stole more than $93,000 in cash, traveler’s checks, money orders and gift cards. After speeding out of the bank in a stolen vehicle, they switched to a second stolen vehicle, which was parked less than half a mile from the bank.

During a high-speed vehicle chase through the streets of North Brunswick, N.J., the defendants fired numerous rounds at a pursuing detective. Several other responding officers joined the chase, which culminated when the defendants crashed their vehicle into a security gate firing numerous rounds at law enforcement officers. The defendants were apprehended after three of them were shot and wounded. One co-conspirator, James Phillips, died on April 4, 2009, as a result of his injuries.

Peterson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24, 2011. Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; the Middlesex and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Offices; and officers from the Franklin Township, North Brunswick, and New Brunswick Police Departments for their invaluable work during the investigation and trial leading to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lakshmi Srinivasan Herman and Dennis C. Carletta of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Gary Cutler, Esq., Newark, N.J. and New York, N.Y.

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