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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Six-Time Bank Robber From Philadelphia Sentenced to Over 10 Years

The defendant targeted banks in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Justin O’Brien, 33, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $7,244 in restitution by United States District Court Judge Nitza I. Alejandro-Quinones for armed bank robbery.

In December 2019, O’Brien pleaded guilty to committing an armed bank robbery on March 12, 2019, taking $1,260 from an employee of Firstrust Bank on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, PA. The defendant also admitted to committing an assault by the use of a dangerous weapon – namely, a facsimile firearm (pellet gun).

As part of the plea agreement, O’Brien also acknowledged his guilt for five other bank robberies, and agreed that the Court could sentence him as if he had been convicted of these crimes: 1) the October 29, 2018 bank robbery of the Tompkins VIST Bank on Verree Road in Philadelphia, resulting in a loss of approximately $1,880; 2) the November 9, 2018 bank robbery of the M&T Bank on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia, resulting in a loss of approximately $451; 3) the March 1, 2019 armed bank robbery of the Firstrust Bank on Krewstown Road in Philadelphia, resulting in a loss of approximately $975; 4) the March 8, 2019 armed bank robbery of the Tompkins VIST Bank on West Lancaster Avenue in Radnor Township, resulting in a loss of approximately $600; and 5) the March 18, 2019 bank robbery of the PNC Bank on Market Street in Philadelphia, resulting in a loss of approximately $2,078.

“O’Brien’s bank robbery spree terrorized innocent employees and showed a contempt for the law,” U.S. Attorney McSwain. “But federal crime means federal time, and now O’Brien has earned a long stint behind bars. My Office’s anti-violence public awareness campaign warns against the serious consequences of committing violent crime in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. You can learn more about this campaign on our District website.”

“Thanks to the hard work of the Philadelphia FBI and its local partners, Justin O’Brien will no longer be in a position to terrorize the community,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “While today’s sentence cannot undo the harm O’Brien caused his victims, it sends a message that if you commit a violent crime, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring you to justice.”

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. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting 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.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lower Merion Township Police Department, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Radnor Township Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas M. Zaleski.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyMcSwain on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated September 2, 2020