Texas Man Sentenced for Bank Robbery in New England
BISMARCK – U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Aug. 26, 2013, Johnner J. Ward Jr., 29, Abilene, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland on a charge of bank robbery and a charge of use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
On the charge of bank robbery, Judge Hovland sentenced Ward to four years with the Bureau of Prisons. On the charge of use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, Judge Hovland sentenced Ward to seven years with the Bureau of Prisons, which will run consecutively to the bank robbery sentence, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Ward was sentenced to pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund and restitution of $4,053.35.
On Oct. 18, 2012, at approximately 8:20 a.m., two men wearing black ski masks and carrying guns entered American Bank Center in New England, N.D. After obtaining money from a bank employee, the men fled the scene.
During the investigation it was discovered that shortly before the robbery, a man who matched the physical characteristics of one of the bank robbers had stopped at a gas station in New England and had purchased gas. Law enforcement obtained the video from the gas station and distributed a picture of the suspect. A detective with the Rapid City (S.D.) Police Department recognized the man as Colt Schneider. Further investigation led to the identity of the other man – Johnner Joe Ward Jr.
The police found that Schneider and Ward worked for a construction company in Rapid City and that they had worked on a construction job in New England a few months before the robbery.
On Nov. 10, 2012, Schneider was arrested in Sarasota, Fla.
On Nov. 2, 2012, Ward was arrested in Midland, Texas. On Feb. 22, 2013, Ward pleaded guilty to charges of bank robbery and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Dickinson Police Department, Bismarck Police Department, Rapid City Police Department, Midland (Texas) Police Department, Bradenton (Florida) Police Department, and Florida Game & Fish.
Schneider was convicted by a federal jury on Aug. 22, 2013, on charges of bank robbery and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Sentencing for Schneider has been scheduled for Nov. 15, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Bismarck, N.D., at 10:00 a.m.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hagler prosecuted the case.