District Man Pleads Guilty to Brazen Bank Robbery
Defendant Was on Supervised Release for Federal Firearms Offenses When Arrested
WASHINGTON – Charles Smoot, 47, of Washington, D.C., has pled guilty to carrying out a broad-daylight robbery of a bank in the Brentwood neighborhood of Northeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Smoot pled guilty on Sept. 20, 2017, before the Honorable Amit P. Mehta in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of bank robbery. Smoot faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely range of 63 to 78 months in prison and potential financial penalties. He also is subject to an order of restitution and a forfeiture money judgment. Judge Mehta scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2018.
The government’s evidence established that on July 5, 2017, at approximately 9:45 a.m., Smoot entered a TD Bank in the 900 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE and handed two notes to the bank tellers that stated, “No Die pack, No police, All your money.” With a bank full of customers, Smoot threatened the tellers with words to the effect of: “Give me all the money or I’ll kill everyone in here.”
In response, the bank tellers – with their hands raised in fear for their lives – gave Smoot approximately $5,121. Smoot put the money in a black gym bag and walked out of the bank. The bank tellers immediately advised law enforcement of the robbery and members of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes MPD detectives, responded to the bank.
Law enforcement tracked Smoot to a residence on 60th Street NE, and immediately began conducting surveillance outside of the residence. Although Smoot had changed some of his clothing, he could be seen wearing the same watch and light grey shoes that could be seen on the TD Bank surveillance video. A search warrant was executed at the residence and the black gym bag and pants worn by Smoot in the bank surveillance video were also recovered. Law enforcement also later recovered property taken from the bank from a storm drain in front of the residence.
The bank was processed by crime scene investigators and additional evidence was recovered that ultimately linked Smoot to the bank robbery. Specifically, an expert identified four fingerprints that were left by Smoot on a magazine that was left on the teller’s counter with the notes demanding the money. Additionally, a handwriting expert compared the handwriting on the two demand notes to known handwriting samples authored by Smoot and concluded that Smoot had authored the two notes that were left behind at the scene.
Smoot was arrested on July 7 and has been in custody ever since. At the time of his arrest, Smoot was on supervised release for unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. Smoot now faces formal revocation of his supervised release and additional incarceration, separate from the above-referenced sentence.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Chief Newsham commended the work of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force and MPD officers in the Fifth and Sixth Districts in quickly investigating and arresting Smoot. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kara Traster, Laura Crane, and Anthony Scarpelli of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marina Stevenson, Paralegal Specialists Candace Battle and Rommel Pachoca, and Legal Assistants Kate Abrey and Peter Gaboton.