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Justice News

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

Newport News Man Sentenced for Armed Bank Robbery

Defendant possessed loaded gun and demanded $40,000

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Harrison Nefale Branche, 36, of  Newport News, Va., was sentenced today to 117 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for armed bank robbery and use, carry and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Washington Field Office made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar.

Blanche waived indictment and pled guilty to a criminal information on February 2, 2015. According to court documents, on September 11, 2014, Branche robbed the Virginia Educator’s Credit Union, located at 812 Main Street in Newport News.  While brandishing a loaded Hi-Point, semi-automatic pistol, he presented a note to the teller stating he had a gun and demanded $40,000.  The teller provided approximately $8,200 and Branche fled the scene. He then discarded his clothes in the storm drain on a public street. When officers encountered him after leaving the credit union he reached into his waistband to retrieve a firearm. Officers ordered him to drop the firearm and he threw it to the ground. The firearm, and approximately $7,800 in U.S. currency located in Branche’s pockets, were recovered.  He later admitted his involvement in the robbery and apologized to the bank teller.

This case was investigated by the ATF and the Newport News Police Department.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Yvonne Garcia and Ivana Nizich from the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Section, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:14cr71.

Updated June 1, 2015