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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Columbus Bank Robber Sentenced To 17 Years Imprisonment

United States Attorney G.F. “Pete” Peterman, III, announced that Victor Butler, age 59, of Columbus, Georgia, was sentenced on August 16, 2016, in Columbus, Georgia, by the Honorable Clay D. Land, United States District Judge, to serve a total of 204 months (17 years) imprisonment, without parole, for bank robbery.

Mr. Butler entered a guilty plea on January 28, 2016, to the robbery of the SunTrust Bank, 2050 Auburn Avenue, Columbus, GA. Mr. Butler approached a bank teller and presented a handwritten demand note stating that this was a robbery. The note also stated that he had a bomb so the teller should do everything he told her to do. Mr. Butler threatened to blow them up if his instructions were not followed, motioning to a backpack he was carrying as evidence of the bomb threat and showed an electronic device which looked like a detonating device to the teller.

Mr. Butler was provided approximately $2,000.00 and fled the bank. The robbery was recorded on video surveillance. Mr. Butler was not wearing anything to hide his identity.

Investigators released an image of the robber to the Columbus media to request the public’s assistance in identifying him. Responses were received from Mr. Butler’s pastor and his probation officer, both of whom positively identified him as the individual from the video who robbed the SunTrust Bank. Mr. Butler was arrested the next day for the robbery. The backpack he used in the robbery was also found by police where he discarded it after the robbery. No evidence of explosives was found with it.

This was Mr. Butler’s third conviction for robbing a federally insured or operated institution. He has previously been convicted for armed bank robbery in 2002 and attempted robbery of a Post Office in 2006. In each of these three robberies Mr. Butler claimed to his victim that he had a bomb in order to secure their cooperation.

“For the past fifteen years this bandit has bullied his victims with the claim that he had a bomb in his backpack. With the lengthy and well-deserved sentence imposed today, he will not have the opportunity to repeat his depredations for a very long time, if ever,” said United States Attorney Pete Peterman.

The case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Solis prosecuted this matter on behalf of the United States.

Violent Crime
Updated August 17, 2016