Sheffield Lake man convicted of robbing three banks
Robert F. Starnes, Jr., age 41, of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, was convicted after a two-day jury trial in United States District Court for the robbery of three banks in Lorain County in June and July 2010, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Starnes was convicted of armed bank robbery for the robberies of the Lorain National Bank branch in Elyria Township on June 28, 2010, and the Chase Bank branch in Sheffield Lake on July 21, 2010. Starnes was also convicted of bank robbery for the robbery of the First Merit Bank branch in Amherst on July 14, 2010.
The evidence at trial showed that Starnes presented tellers at each of the three banks with a demand note stating that it was a robbery and not to use any dye packs. During the Lorain National Bank and the Chase Bank robberies Starnes also showed the teller a gun stuck in his waistband. During the First Merit Bank robbery, Starnes did not show the teller a gun, but gestured to his waist to indicate that he had a weapon.
Starnes stole more than $4,000 from both the Lorain National Bank and the First Merit Bank robberies and over $1,800 from the Chase Bank robbery.
This was the second trial of Starnes on these charges. Starnes was previously convicted of committing the three bank robberies after a jury trial on November 10, 2010. Starnes was then sentenced on April 21, 2011, to serve 15 years in prison.
However, Starnes successfully appealed his conviction to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial in an opinion issued on September 26, 2012. Starnes’ re-trial began on November 26, 2012.
Starnes is scheduled to be sentenced again on February 14, 2013.
His sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The case was investigated by the Elyria office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd and Christos N. Georgalis.