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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tuscaloosa Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Hostage-Taking Bank Robbery

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Tuscaloosa man to 20 years in prison for the January robbery and hostage-taking at a Tuscaloosa credit union, announced U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.

CEDRICK LAMAR COLLINS, 19, pleaded guilty in August to one count of robbing a federally insured bank, the Alabama Credit Union, and to one count of taking hostages during the commission of the bank robbery. U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Collins and ordered him to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term.

“This defendant threatened and endangered the lives of 10 people as he put them between himself and armed police,” Town said. “The SWAT teams from the Tuscaloosa Police and Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s departments did a superb job of stopping the bank robbery, arresting the robber, and recovering all the hostages unharmed.”

“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Office and the Tuscaloosa Police Department, this potentially deadly situation was resolved without injury,” Sharp said. “The sentence handed down today will give Collins plenty of time to reflect on his dangerous actions.”

One of the bank employees taken hostage during the robbery testified at today’s hearing about how Collins put them all in fear for their lives. During the ordeal, Collins moved the hostages throughout the building, brandishing his gun and, at one point, holding it to her head, she testified.

Collins robbed the Alabama Credit Union on Jan. 17. According to court records, the University of Alabama Police Department received a call concerning suspicious activity at the credit union. As SWAT teams from the Tuscaloosa Police Department and Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene, Collins had taken a number of bank employees hostage after demanding money. Officers attempted to enter the bank and encountered Collins in the stairwell with a hostage in front of him. Collins threatened to start shooting unless law enforcement moved back. Officers later entered the bank and safely secured Collins, without any hostages being injured. The handgun Collins held was found to be a BB gun.

The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Felton prosecuted.

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Updated November 29, 2017