Two Anchorage Men Sentenced for Their Roles in 2019-Armed Robbery of Wells Fargo Bank
One Subject Remains at Large
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that two Anchorage men were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline for their roles in the December 4, 2019 armed robbery of an Anchorage Wells Fargo Bank branch on Debarr Rd.
Totoe Opeti Sakaria, Jr., 24, and co-defendant, Brandon David McDonald, 24, both of Anchorage, were indicted by the grand jury in December 2019 for their roles in the armed robbery and have been detained without bail since December 10, 2019. Sakaria pleaded guilty to bank robbery and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in October 2020 and was sentenced yesterday to 126 months in prison. McDonald pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to bank robbery in October 2020 and was sentenced today to 28 months in prison.
According to documents filed in the case, on Dec. 4, 2019, two masked men entered the Wells Fargo bank on Debarr Road during business hours. One of them, later identified as Sakaria, pointed a shotgun at patrons and employees while demanding that everyone get on the ground. The other man, who has not been identified, approached a teller and demanded money, obtaining $2,624. As Sakaria and the other man left the bank, Sakaria struck a security guard in the head with the buttstock of his shotgun, causing serious injury to the guard. Sakaria and the unidentified coconspirator subsequently met with McDonald, who was aware the two had committed the bank robbery and agreed to hide the shotgun and clothing used in its commission. On December 6, 2019, FBI special agents recovered the shotgun from the crawlspace of McDonald’s residence.
Sakaria and McDonald were identified as suspects after still photos from surveillance footage were released to the public via Nixle alerts and the media. The coconspirator remains at large.
If the public has any information regarding the coconspirator who robbed the bank with Sakaria, please contact Anchorage FBI at (907) 276-4441.
In sentencing Sakaria to a term of 126 months, followed by 3 years of supervised release, the court noted the terrifying nature of the crime for the bank patrons and employees, Sakaria’ s dangerous use of a shotgun, and the rapid succession of serious crimes Sakaria committed in 2019, including a vehicle theft conviction from the State of Alaska. The Court also ordered Sakaria to pay $7,652 in restitution for the loss to Wells Fargo Bank and the cost of medical care and worker’s compensation insurance for the injured security guard.
In sentencing McDonald to a term of 28 months followed by 3 years of supervised release, Judge Beistline emphasized the foolishness of McDonald’s decision to help the robbers. McDonald has pending felony charges from the State of Alaska stemming from a May 2019 armed robbery and a February 2019 failure to stop at the direction of an officer.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Anchorage Police Department (APD) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison O’Leary.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.