Columbus Bank Robber Pleads Guilty After Jury Selected
G.F. “Pete” Peterman, III, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces Christopher Belt, age 26, of Columbus, Georgia entered a plea of guilty on February 27, 2017 to bank robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence in front of District Court Judge Clay D. Land. Mr. Belt entered the guilty plea after a jury had been selected to hear his case.
The evidence showed that Mr. Belt entered the Milgen Road branch of the Wells Fargo Bank on March 18, 2016, wearing a disguise and carrying a firearm. Mr. Belt approached a lone teller, demanded money, and was given $8,101 in bank proceeds. He then exited the bank and fled in a gold-colored Ford Fusion. The robbery lasted for less than a minute. An employee at the bank managed to write down the Fusion’s license plate number, and Columbus Police detectives were able to trace the car to a known associate of Mr. Belt’s. Mr. Belt was arrested in connection with the robbery on April 5, 2016. The stolen money and the firearm used during the robbery were not recovered.
Sentencing has been set for July 13, 2017. Bank robbery is punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence is punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment and must be served consecutive to any imprisonment due to the bank robbery charge. As a condition of his sentence, Mr. Belt will have to pay $8,101 restitution to Wells Fargo Bank.
The investigation primarily was worked by the Columbus Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Melvin E. Hyde is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Government.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.