U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 26, 2012
Vermont Man Faces up to Life in Federal Prison in Armed Robbery of West Greenwich Bank
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Louis R. Peters III, 22, of West Topsham, Vt., pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Wednesday to his participation in the armed robbery of a West Greenwich, R.I., bank on May 28, 2011. Employees were bound and held at gunpoint as they readied the bank to be opened for business. Peters faces up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on April 13, 2012, having plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, bank robbery and use of a firearm in relation to the commission of a bank robbery.
Peters and a co-defendant, Craig A. Carey, 42, of Fall River, Mass., were arrested by West Greenwich Police and Rhode Island State Police within minutes of the robbery. The pair was allegedly preparing to flee the area of the bank when they were located and detained.
Peters’ guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Acting West Greenwich Police Chief Craig S. Barone; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.
At Wednesday’s change-of-plea hearing, Peters admitted to the court that he was one of two masked men that accosted a bank manager at gunpoint as she arrived at the bank. Peters admitted once inside the bank the manager was ordered to open the vault, but that they were informed by the manager that it took two bank employees to open the vault. As other employees arrived for work, Peters admitted that they were instructed to lie on the floor and that he bound their hands and their feet with zip ties.
According to information presented to the court, when a second manager arrived at the bank she explained to the robbers that there was a fifteen minute delay between the opening of the outer and inner bank vault doors. Upon learning that fact, the armed robber threatened the bank employees and then demanded that they empty the contents of all of the cashier drawers into a black bag provided by the robber. The two managers complied with that request, turning over approximately $82,000 to the robbers. Both robbers eventually left the bank.
According to information presented to the court, a witness called police to report that he observed two masked men exit from the bank. The witness called police again a few minutes later to report that he again saw the same two individuals walk out of a wooded area adjacent to the bank and cross a roadway towards the rear of an industrial building. One of them was carrying a black duffle bag.
According to information presented to the court, West Greenwich officers and a Rhode Island State Police trooper located Peters inside and behind the wheel of a vehicle bearing a Vermont registration plate. Shortly after Peters was taken into custody, a second person later identified as Craig Carey was located in the same area and was taken into custody. Keys later identified as the keys to the bank that had been robbed and keys to the bank manager’s vehicle were allegedly located in Carey’s pocket. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a black duffle bag in the trunk containing a revolver, a large sum of cash and clothing matching the description of clothing worn by the robbers.
Peters and Carey have been detained since their arrest. Carey, who pled not guilty on June 28, 2012, to a federal indictment charging him with conspiracy, bank robbery and use of a firearm in relation to the commission of a bank robbery, is awaiting trial.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen G. Dambruch and Kenneth P. Madden.