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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Prisoner Who Escaped from Custody at Virginia Hospital Indicted on Bank Robbery and Burglary, Escape, Assault, Kidnapping, and Firearms Charges

Arlington man was in custody on bank robbery charges when he escaped 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury returned a 16-count indictment today against Wossen Assaye, 43, of Arlington, Virginia, charging Assaye with bank robbery, bank burglary, escape, kidnapping, assault, and related firearms offenses.

According to the indictment, beginning in October 2013 until March 2015, Assaye robbed various banks in Northern Virginia on five occasions, twice brandishing a firearm.  In a sixth instance, Assaye entered a bank with the intent to commit bank robbery and larceny. 

Assaye was charged by complaint on March 25, 2015, for a bank robbery offense and was subsequently arrested and detained.  While at a Virginia hospital for treatment, Assaye escaped federal custody.  During the course of his escape, Assaye brandished a firearm to assault two federal officers assigned to guarding him and kidnapped one of the officers.

The indictment also charges Assaye with unlawfully possessing a firearm after being convicted of eight violent felonies.

Assaye faces a mandatory minimum of 122 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison, if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; Earl L. Cook, Alexandria City Chief of Police; Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff; and Mary Gavin, Falls Church Chief of Police, made the announcement after the indictment was returned.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Department, Alexandria City Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the Falls Church City Police Department.  Also, during the course of the investigation assistance was received from U.S. Marshals Service, Virginia State Police, Arlington County Police Department, and Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael E. Rich, William M. Sloan, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindy Chang are prosecuting the case.

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. 1:15-cr-115.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated May 28, 2015