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Press Release

Washington, D.C. Man Sentenced For Role In 2013 String Of Armed Bank Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – James Link, 57, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 35 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

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; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.

According to court records, the FBI identified Link and co-defendants James McNeal, 63, of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Alphonso Stoddard, 59, of Forest Heights, Maryland, as possible suspects in a string of bank robberies in late 2013.  On Dec. 27, 2013, Link, McNeal and Stoddard were followed by law enforcement agents as they cased two banks in Arlington, Virginia.  One of the banks the defendants were seen casing was a Wells Fargo branch on South George Mason Drive.

On Dec. 31, 2013, McNeal left his residence in Hyattsville and picked up Link and Stoddard before returning to the Wells Fargo branch in Arlington.  At approximately 1:15 p.m., Stoddard and Link entered the bank.  Inside the bank, Link brandished a firearm while Stoddard removed approximately $47,000 in cash from teller drawers.  The two men exited the bank and returned to the vehicle where McNeal was waiting.  The FBI and Arlington police officers arrested the defendants shortly after exiting the Wells Fargo branch.  A handgun and cash were found in the vehicle.

A search of McNeal’s house led to the discovery of an additional firearm believed to be used in earlier bank robberies, cash and gloves.  Stoddard admitted to his involvement in armed robberies at a Wells Fargo in Rockville, Maryland on Oct. 29, 2013 and the Bank of Georgetown in Vienna, Virginia on Oct. 30, 2013.  Link admitted he was involved in the Bank of Georgetown robbery and an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo in Arlington on Nov. 25, 2013.

Link pleaded guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and admitted his involvement in four bank robberies.  Stoddard was convicted at an August 2014 trial on charges involving three separate bank robberies, and McNeal was convicted for his involvement in one bank robbery.  Stoddard faces a mandatory life sentence because of prior convictions for armed bank robberies, and McNeal faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Stoddard and McNeal will be sentenced on Nov. 7, 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from FBI’s Baltimore Division and the Arlington County and Fairfax County police departments.  The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland also provided assistance in the investigation.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Clarke is 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. 1:14-cr-76.

Updated March 25, 2015