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Justice News

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Arkansas Man Sentenced For Texarkana Bank Robberies

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

 TEXARKANA, Texas – A 49-year-old Cove, Arkansas man has been sentenced to federal prison for bank robbery in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. 
                Joe Elva Whisenant pleaded guilty on June 20, 2013, to two bank robberies and was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider.  Whisenant was also ordered to pay restitution of $23,153.
                According to information presented in court, on July 24, 2012, Whisenant entered the lobby of the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Texarkana, Texas, and placed a black zippered bag on the counter in front of the teller and handed the teller a note demanding money.  Whisenant then fled the bank with approximately $738.  A short time later, he was arrested while driving a moped.  A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Aug. 1, 2012, charging Whisenant with bank robbery.

                After Whisenant was arrested for the Wells Fargo robbery in Texas, law enforcement officers were able to obtain evidence connecting Whisenant to the Nov. 28, 2011, robbery of the Bancorp South Bank branch in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Whisenant robbed the Arkansas bank of $23,153.  A federal grand in the Western District of Arkansas returned an indictment on Jan. 13, 2013, charging Whisenant in that bank robbery.  On Feb. 28, 2013, the case was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Texas.

                These cases were investigated by the FBI, the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department, the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Department.  These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allen Hurst and Jonathan D. Ross.

Updated March 12, 2015