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Newark, new jersey man sentenced to 562 months in prison for armed bank robbery that ended in shootout with law enforcement

May 24, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man was sentenced today to 562 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.

Anthony Peterson, 45, and his co-defendant, Abdullah Muhammad, 57, also of Newark, N.J., were convicted on November 9, 2010, on all three counts of the Indictment against them: conspiracy 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, of Newark, pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery on October 29, 2010. 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 at nearby St. Peter’s University Hospital. The defendants attempted to flee the scene on foot, 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.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton ordered Peterson to serve three years of supervised release. Peterson’s 562 month sentence consists of 262 months in prison for the armed robbery and 300 months for the related firearm offense – to run consecutively.

In addition to the sentence related to this offense, Judge Wigenton sentenced Peterson to 81 months in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release following a prior bank robbery conviction from 1994. The 81-month sentence will run consecutive to the 562-month sentence for this offense.

Muhammad was sentenced on May 13, 2011, to 225 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Holmes is currently scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, as well as the Middlesex and Somerset County Prosecutors’ Offices; and officers from the Franklin Township, North Brunswick, and New Brunswick Police Departments, for their invaluable work 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: Donald J. McCauley Esq., and Patrick McMahon Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defenders, Newark

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