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Press Release

Gaithersburg Man Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Armed Bank Robbery

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

Robbery Committed While Defendant Was on Supervised Release for a Previous Bank Robbery

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Ashref Abil Bannaga, age 32, of Gaithersburg, Maryland today to five years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for the December 7, 2011, armed bank robbery of the Capitol One Bank in Frederick, Maryland. At the time of the robbery, Bannaga was on federal supervised release after serving a sentence of 70 months for a 2006 Virginia bank robbery.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Captain Thomas J. Ledwell, Chief of the Frederick Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, on December 7, 2011, Bannaga entered the Capitol One Bank located at 1305 W. 7th Street in Frederick, Maryland, with a mask and a hood covering his face. Bannaga, brandishing what appeared to be a firearm, ordered the employees and customers into one general area, then demanded that the branch manager open the safe. When the branch manager could not open the safe, Bannaga, still brandishing the gun, opened a teller drawer, stole approximately $5,995 and left the bank.

A witness walked into the bank as Bannaga was exiting. Bannaga showed the witness his gun and warned the witness not to do anything “stupid.” The witness saw Bannaga get into a black truck and reported the partial front tag, the fact that there were no rear tags, and a plate description to law enforcement, who located the truck in an adjacent parking lot. The rear tag of the truck was hanging on by one screw, as though it had just been reattached.

Investigation revealed that the truck had been rented by Bannaga the day before. Bannaga was employed at the time of the robbery to do construction work at the supermarket located in the same strip mall as the bank. Law enforcement recovered the clothing, mask, hat, and gloves worn by the robber, as well as most of the bank money, and the gun (a replica BB-type gun) on the construction site where Bannaga worked. Bannaga’s DNA was on the mask and the hat used during the robbery.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and Frederick Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel M. Yasser, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015