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Press Release

Career Criminal Gets Nearly 47 Years In Prison For Armed Bank Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge this week sentenced a Birmingham man to nearly 47 years in prison for an armed bank robbery in Tarrant in October, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.

MICHAEL SCOTT THOMAS, 40, of Birmingham, pleaded guilty in January to one count each of armed robbery, brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. All the charges stemmed from the Oct. 14 robbery at Wells Fargo Bank on Pinson Street in Tarrant.

U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Thomas to 21 years and 10 months in prison on the armed robbery and felon in possession counts, to be followed by 25 years in prison for brandishing a gun during the robbery.

According to court records, Thomas entered the Tarrant bank and robbed it as follows: He walked to the teller counter, brandished a handgun, pulled a black bag from behind his waistband and demanded the teller put money in it. Thomas also ordered other tellers to put money in the bag. He left the bank with $26,516, got into a car and drove away. Tarrant Police stopped the car he was driving, arrested Thomas and recovered the stolen money and a loaded Smith and Wesson .40-caliber pistol.

Judge Bowdre sentenced Thomas as an armed career criminal. He has been convicted for five previous violent robberies, according to court records.

The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Montminy prosecuted.

Updated March 19, 2015