OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
Sharon L. Potter
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist
January 22, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Youngtown, Ohio, Resident Sentenced
on Bank Robbery Charges
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — A 20 year old Youngtown, Ohio, resident was sentenced on January 21, 2009, in United States District Court in Wheeling by Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.
United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that CRAIG WOMACK was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. WOMACK entered guilty pleas on October 8, 2008, to one count of conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery from September 1, 2007, to November 2, 2007, in Newell, Hancock County, West Virginia; and one count of armed bank robbery on October 19, 2007, in Lima, Ohio, the deposits of which were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. WOMACK was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal.
Evidence presented to the Court indicated that on November 1, 2007, WOMACK and co-defendant Darrell Nelson traveled to Newell, West Virginia, for purposes of conducting surveillance on Northern Hancock Bank and Trust. During this surveillance operation, WOMACK entered the bank, using a request for the teller to change a fifty dollar bill as a subterfuge to look around and determine whether there was a security guard in the bank. The very next day, both WOMACK and Nelson again traveled to Newell with the intent on committing a bank robbery at the Northern Hancock Bank and Trust. Prior to the robbery, a diversionary device (a gasoline can with nails attached to it) was ignited by defendants on the Newell bridge. Fire officials responded to the fire shortly before the bank alarm.
WOMACK, who was the get-away driver, dropped Nelson off a few blocks away from the bank. Nelson, thereafter, entered the bank wearing a Halloween mask and a jumpsuit and shouted “trick or treat” and approached the teller counter brandishing a silver handgun and stated that “This is no joke, give me your money from the top drawer!” Nelson then took the currency and exited the bank. Following the robbery, the President and Vice President of the bank followed Nelson down an alley in the rear of the bank. As he was being pursued by these individuals, Nelson dropped approximately half the money taken from the bank.
As Nelson approached the white Chevrolet Blazer (being driven by WOMACK), WOMACK panicked and drove away leaving Nelson. Citizens continued pursuing Nelson on foot through Newell until he escaped into a wooded area. Shortly thereafter, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputies en route to the bank observed a white Blazer near Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort and pulled it over. They identified WOMACK as the driver, but released him when radio dispatch alerted them that the robber was still running on foot in Newell.
On November 3, 2007, after it was determined that WOMACK was, in all likelihood, involved in the robbery, WOMACK was approached and interviewed by the FBI. WOMACK provided a complete confession to his involvement in the robbery at the Northern Hancock Bank and Trust on November 2, 2007, as well as another bank robbery which occurred in Ohio. WOMACK also identified Nelson as the individual who entered the Northern Hancock Bank and Trust and robbed it on November 2, 2007.
On November 6, 2007, Nelson was arrested on State robbery charges. At that time, Nelson provided a complete confession to the robbery occurring at the Northern Hancock Bank and Trust (as well as two other bank robberies).
Co-defendant Nelson earlier pled guilty to three counts of bank robbery on September 7, 2007, of the First National Bank in Campbell, Ohio; on October 19, 2007, of the Huntington Bank located in North Lima, Ohio; and, on November 2, 2007, at the Northern Hancock Bank and Trust in Newell, West Virginia, the deposits of which were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and who was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment.
As to the Ohio robberies, on September 7, 2007, Nelson robbed the First National Bank located in Campbell, Ohio. He again entered the bank in disguise, with what appeared to be a handgun and left with an amount of U.S. currency. On October 19, 2007, both WOMACK and Nelson were involved in a robbery of Huntington Bank located in North Lima, Ohio. While Nelson robbed the bank (again in disguise and displaying what appeared to be a handgun), WOMACK waited in the getaway car. The two then traveled back to WOMACK’s residence and split the proceeds from the robbery.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.
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