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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Detroit Man Who Robbed Credit Union and Crashed Getaway Car Near Vandenberg Air Force Base Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery Charge

          LOS ANGELES – A Michigan man who robbed a credit union – and two days later attempted to rob a bank and led law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit that ended with him crashing his getaway car near Vandenberg Air Force Base – pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge.

          Maurice Antwion Pilgrim Jr., 19, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery.

          According to his plea agreement, on October 13, 2020, Pilgrim robbed Coast Hills Credit Union in Lompoc, netting $3,000 in the theft. Two days later, Pilgrim attempted to rob Mechanics Bank in Guadalupe by handing one of the tellers a note which read, “give me $5,000-$10,000 and no gets hurt.” Pilgrim fled the scene after seeing a nearby bank security guard.

          After fleeing Mechanics Bank, local law enforcement spotted Pilgrim driving a car on Highway 1 and began pursuing him. After initially stopping his car, Pilgrim refused to exit the vehicle and, to avoid capture, sped away. During his subsequent flight from law enforcement he drove at speeds more than 110 mph, weaving in and out of traffic, and almost colliding with other motorists on the road, the plea agreement states.

          Pilgrim’s vehicle went off the road near the Vandenberg Air Force Base visitor center, and he attempted to flee on foot, but he was quickly apprehended. Law enforcement recovered $552 from Pilgrim’s car and $1,700 from his pockets that were proceeds of his robbery of Coast Hills Credit Union two days earlier.

          United States District Judge Percy Anderson has scheduled a June 21 sentencing hearing, at which time Pilgrim will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

          The FBI, the Lompoc Police Department, the Guadalupe Police Department, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office investigated this matter.

          Assistant United States Attorney Lynda Lao of the General Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Ciaran McEvoy Public Information Officer United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) ciaran.mcevoy@usdoj.gov (213) 894-4465
Press Release Number: 
21-064
Updated April 8, 2021