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Press Release

Macon Man Sentenced to Prison for Robbing a Truist Bank Branch

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

MACON, Ga. – The Macon resident who robbed a Truist Bank Branch on Riverside Drive in Macon in 2023 while on federal supervised release was sentenced to federal prison today.

Gabriel Bell, 29, of Macon, was sentenced to serve a total of 111 months imprisonment (87 months in prison for bank robbery and 24 months in prison for violating his supervised release in Case No. 5:23-CR-39) to be followed by five years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on June 5. In addition, Bell was ordered to pay $3,000 restitution to Truist Bank. Bell was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of bank robbery on March 12. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Two tips from concerned citizens helped law enforcement quickly track down Gabriel Bell, who was on federal supervised release at the time for illegally possessing a gun,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Law enforcement at every level is committed to keeping our communities safe from violence and seeking justice for victims.”

“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 now will have more time in prison to think about what he’ll do when he is released from prison this time.” 

“Our citizens can be grateful that dedicated investigative work from Bibb deputies and FBI agents have resulted in a repeat offender receiving prison time as a result of choosing crime as a career,” said Bibb County Sheriff David J. Davis.

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 found guilty in the Eastern District of North Carolina of one count 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 prosecuted the case for the Government.

Updated June 6, 2024