You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Armed Bank Robber in High-Speed Chase with Marietta Police Department Sentenced

ATLANTA – Donte Deshawn Alston has been sentenced for the armed robbery of a Fifth Third Bank in Smyrna, Georgia, and for brandishing a firearm during the commission of that crime. 

“Alston threatened the life of a bank teller at gunpoint during this robbery then endangered the lives of other citizens and police officers during a dangerous high-speed car chase with law enforcement following the robbery,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “His conviction and lengthy sentence resulted from a collaborative effort between federal and local law enforcement agencies that will allow Fifth Third Bank and its employees to put this traumatic chapter behind them.”

“This defendant’s complete disregard for the safety of innocent civilians is reprehensible,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thankfully the quick response by officers from the Marietta Police Department, the diligence of FBI agents who investigated this case, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office who prosecuted this case, Alston’s victims can take solace that he will not be a threat to traumatize anyone else.”

“Robbery is the epitome of a premeditated violent crime and fleeing from the police at a high rate of speed endangers the community as well as police officers,” said Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn. “I appreciate both our officers who placed themselves in harm’s way to capture this violent criminal and our federal partners who effectively used Project Safe Neighborhoods to protect our community.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: On April 5, 2017, Alston robbed Fifth Third Bank in Smyrna at gunpoint then led police on a high-speed chase before hydroplaning into a fence. Alston entered the bank wearing a hooded sweater, black mask, and gloves. He fled the bank with approximately $2,500 in cash that he placed inside his backpack. Alston did not know that the bank’s funds included a GPS tracking device that allowed the Marietta Police Department (MPD) to immediately track the movement of a 2006 silver Chevy Aveo that he was driving.

Alston attempted to evade officers by speeding through a shopping center parking lot and local streets in excess of 70 miles per hour, before ultimately losing control of his vehicle in a residential neighborhood. Alston also tried to escape following the crash, but MPD officers apprehended him in a nearby wooded area. The officers recovered Alston’s backpack that contained a loaded firearm, the stolen bank funds, and the GPS tracking device.

Donte Deshawn Alston, 23, of Atlanta, Georgia was sentenced to 10 years, one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Alston was convicted of the offenses of armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence after entering a guilty plea on May 1, 2018.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Marietta Police Department. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dash A. Cooper prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Updated September 5, 2018