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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 21, 2021

Detroit Man Who Robbed Credit Union and Crashed Getaway Car Near Vandenberg Air Force Base Sentenced to 2½ Years in Federal Prison

          LOS ANGELES – A Michigan man was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison for robbing a credit union – and two days later attempting to rob a bank then leading law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit that ended with him crashing his getaway car near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

          Maurice Antwion Pilgrim Jr., 20, of Detroit, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered him to pay $748 in restitution. Pilgrim pleaded guilty on April 8 to one count of bank robbery.

          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.

          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.

          “(Pilgrim) attempted to commit a second bank robbery after the first was successful, and his reaction to getting caught represented a serious disregard for the safety of others, including the public at large,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

          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 prosecuted 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: 
21-116
Updated June 21, 2021