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Press Release

Rockford Man Sentenced to More Than Nine Years in Federal Prison for Bank Robbery

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

ROCKFORD — A Rockford man has been sentenced to nine and a half years in federal prison for bank robbery and attempted bank robbery.

LIONEL RUSSELL, 35, pleaded guilty last year to the attempted robbery of BMO Harris Bank, 228 S. Main St. in Rockford, and the robbery of Illinois Bank and Trust, 308 W. State St. in Rockford, both of which occurred on Jan. 27, 2020.

Russell admitted in a plea agreement that in the BMO Harris heist he presented a note to the teller demanding $20,000.  While the teller was complying with the note, Russell took the note back and left the bank without any money.  In the Illinois Bank and Trust robbery, Russell presented a note to the teller that stated, “I have a gun, I need everything out of the register.”  Russell received $14,625 from the teller and left the bank.

Russell was arrested by the Warren County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 3, 2020, after a traffic stop.  At the time, Russell possessed in his car several bundles of cash that Russell admitted was stolen during the robbery of Illinois Bank and Trust.

U.S. District Judge Iain D. Johnston imposed the prison sentence Friday after a hearing in federal court in Rockford.  Russell was also ordered ordered to pay restitution totaling $14,625.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Rockford Police Department and the Warren County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Department.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ladd.

Updated March 8, 2022

Violent Crime