Whiteville Men Convicted of Bank Robbery and Firing Weapon at Law Enforcement Officers
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today, DAQUAN MADRID PRIDGEN, 27, of Whiteville, North Carolina was convicted in federal court following a three-day trial before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The jury found PRIDGEN guilty of bank robbery, discharging a firearm in furtherance of a bank robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. On May 1, 2018, DEMETRIS SEAN ROBINSON, 27, of Whiteville, North Carolina was convicted in federal court following a two-day trial before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The jury found ROBINSON guilty of bank robbery, discharging a firearm in furtherance of a bank robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On January 23, 2018, at approximately 3:30 p.m., ROBINSON, PRIDGEN, and two co-conspirators entered the PNC Bank in Lumberton, North Carolina, where they held the PNC Bank employees and a customer at gunpoint while they stole over $40,000. Lumberton Police Department and Robeson County Sheriff’s Department officers quickly caught up to the fleeing vehicle and pursued it. ROBINSON fired repeatedly at pursuing officers during a two-county, high-speed chase, using a handgun, a shotgun, and a high-powered rifle that fired armor-piercing bullets. PRIDGEN, ROBINSON, and others involved fled on foot and were later arrested.
PRIDGEN and ROBINSON each face a sentence of not less than 20 years and up to life in prison, a fine up to $750,000, and up to 5 years of supervised release at sentencing.
Mr. Higdon commented: “We are pleased to finally conclude this series of cases with the conviction of all four individuals who robbed this Lumberton bank and who jeopardized the safety and lives of the employees and customers of the bank, as well as numerous law enforcement officers. Our effort to Take Back North Carolina from violent criminals means we will take a strong stand on behalf of victims of these crimes and we will pursure tough sentences for those who perpetrate these crimes. It also means we will stand for law enformenet officers whose safety is jeopardized. We were able to accomplish all these goals in this series of cases and we hope it serves as a lesson to others about the consequences of this type of criminal conduct.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lumberton Police Department, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Erin Blondel and Robbie Dodson handled the prosecution of this case for the government.