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Press Release

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Four Men In Separate Bank Robberies

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

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury today indicted four men in connection to four separate bank robberies in North Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.

The four men are charged in three separate indictments filed in U.S. District Court. JOHN DAVID VANSTEENIS, 28, of Decatur, and JOSEPH MICHAEL BORDEN, 52, who was homeless, are charged with the Jan. 25 robbery of a Decatur branch of The People’s Bank. Vansteenis and Borden also face a charge of brandishing a firearm, a Glock Model 27 pistol, during the crime of violence.

CHRISTOPHER ALLAN COOPER, 33, of Kentucky, is charged with two bank robberies in Huntsville. He is charged with the Dec. 12 robbery of a Regions Bank branch on Memorial Parkway South, and with the Jan. 8 robbery of a Regions Bank branch on Drake Avenue SW.

CHRISTOPHER BRUCE, 35, of McCalla, also was indicted for two bank robberies. Bruce is charged with the Nov. 16 robbery of First Financial Bank on U.S. Highway 11 North in Vance, and with the Nov. 26 robbery of West Alabama Bank on Alabama Highway 5 in Woodstock.

The FBI investigated these cases, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting them. The Vance and Woodstock Police Departments and the Bibb County Sheriff's Department assisted in the case involving Bruce. The Huntsville Police Department assisted in the case that led to the charges against Cooper, and the Hartselle and Decatur Police Departments assisted in the case that led to charges against Vansteenis and Borden.

The bank robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory sentence of seven years in prison, to be served after completion of any other sentence imposed for the crime.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Updated March 19, 2015