U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
June 14, 2010
CAREER CRIMINAL SENTENCED TO 175 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR BACK-TO-BACK BANK ROBBERIES
Providence, R.I. – A Providence, R.I., man deemed a career criminal by a U.S. District Court judge has been sentenced to 175 months in federal prison, having pleaded guilty to robbing banks in Providence and Newport. Dennis Tasker, Jr., 39, had previously been arrested approximately two dozen times on more than 50 charges in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Florida; and had been out of prison for about one month when he robbed the banks in July 2009.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, the government noted Tasker’s lengthy criminal record; including serious crimes such as sex offenses, breaking and entering, burglaries, and escape from the Rhode Island state prison.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, which was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “This is precisely the kind of case, and Mr. Tasker is precisely the kind of defendant, who deserves a lengthy federal sentence. Only this kind of sentence can protect the public from Mr. Tasker’s repeated criminal acts.”
At a change of plea hearing in November 2009, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan told the court had the matter gone to trial the government would have presented evidence that Tasker robbed banks in Providence and Newport on consecutive days in July 2009. Evidence would have shown in both instances Tasker handed tellers notes stating that he had a gun and demanded money. On July 7 Tasker robbed the Thayer Street, Providence branch of Sovereign Bank of $763; on July 8 he robbed the Thames Street, Newport branch of Sovereign Bank of approximately $7,900. A gun was never shown.
On July 11, officers of the MBTA Transit Police Department in Boston encountered Tasker after receiving a report of a male attempting to break into vehicles. Tasker was apprehended after attempting to break into approximately 15 cars. At the time of his arrest he was wearing only a towel around his waist and a jacket.
The robberies were investigated by the FBI, Providence Police, and Newport Police. MBTA Transit Police in Boston assisted with the apprehension of Tasker.