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Press Release

Convicted Felon Found Guilty at Trial of Robbing Truist Bank in Macon

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

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident was found guilty by a federal jury today of robbing the Truist Bank on Riverside Drive in Macon in 2023 while on federal supervised release for illegally possessing a firearm.

Gabriel Bell, 29, of Macon, was found guilty of one count of bank robbery on March 12 following a two-day trial that began on Monday, March 11. Bell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. U.S. District Chief Judge Marc Treadwell is presiding over the case. A sentencing date will be scheduled by the Court.

“Gabriel Bell terrorized Truist employees when he entered the bank and demanded money while threatening to shoot them,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “People should be safe to conduct their everyday business without fear or intimidation; sending Bell back to federal prison will further that goal.”

“Bell’s prior prison time was apparently not enough for him because he returned to his robbing ways while he was still on supervised release for the last crime he committed,” said Robert Gibbs, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Macon Office. “Thanks to the assistance of our partners with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, he’ll have up to 20 years in federal prison to think about what he’ll do the next time he is released from prison.” 

“We want to thank those tipsters who gave information identifying Gabriel Bell as the robber,” said Bibb County Sheriff David J. Davis. “Committed public involvement coupled with good investigative follow-up resulted in this repeat offender being held accountable for yet another unlawful deed.”

According to court documents and evidence submitted at trial, Bell walked into the Truist Bank at 2998 Riverside Drive in Macon on Feb. 16, 2023, at approximately 3:17 p.m., wearing a blue surgical mask. There were no customers in the business at the time. Bell handed a demand note to a teller that stated: “PUT ALL BIG BILLS IN ENVELOPE (ROBBERY) Do anything stupid, and I’ll shoot you!” The teller put her hands up and told Bell she did not have money and passed the note to another teller. This second teller gave Bell cash, after which he fled. Tellers at the bank said Bell lifted his shirt and they saw something that was described as dark, silver, with a handle and that could have been a gun. In surveillance video, Bell is seen grabbing at his hip where tellers reported they saw the object. No weapon was recovered.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office released photographs taken from surveillance video to the public and received two tips identifying the suspect as Bell. The FBI processed the demand note for latent fingerprints and developed two latent prints that were determined to belong to Bell. The FBI also obtained location information from Bell’s cell phone and Google account which confirmed he was in the area near the bank at the time of the robbery. Bell was taken into custody on Feb. 20, 2023. Bell was previously convicted of armed robbery of the Huddle House in Jeffersonville, Georgia, in 2015.  He was also convicted in federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina of convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm in 2021 and was on federal supervised release for that offense at the time of the Truist Bank robbery.

The case was investigated by FBI and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard is prosecuting the case for the Government.

Updated March 13, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime