Rensselaer Man Sentenced to 17 Years for Two Capital Region Armed Bank Robberies
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ulysses Jessie Walls, a/k/a “Guwala,” age 30, of Rensselaer, New York, was sentenced today to serve 204 months in federal prison for two 2019 armed bank robberies.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Craig L. Tremaroli, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Dominick L. Chiumento, Acting Superintendent of the New York State Police (NYSP); Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins; and Town of North Greenbush Police Chief David Keevern.
As part of his previously entered guilty pleas to armed bank robbery, firearms, and conspiracy charges, Walls admitted that he committed two armed robberies with Christopher Cohn a/k/a “Wolf.” On February 6, 2019, Walls and Cohn pulled up to an Albany Trustco Bank branch, where Cohn declared he was about to “go do this,” meaning that he planned to rob the bank. Walls and Cohn then entered the bank wearing ski masks. In the bank, Walls displayed a gun, and both men threatened to kill the bank’s employees, who surrendered approximately $150,000 to the pair.
Walls also admitted that on the morning of February 26, 2019, he and Cohn entered an M&T Bank branch in North Greenbush, each wearing a ski mask and brandishing a gun. During the robbery, Cohn fired multiple shots, including one that grazed a bank employee. According to court documents, law enforcement tracked Cohn, Walls, and their getaway driver to an Albany motel using a GPS device placed in the stolen money by a member of the bank’s staff. Cohn was apprehended by officers with more than $10,000 in cash and wearing red sneakers matching those captured by the bank’s surveillance cameras during the robbery. Walls was arrested in the motel’s lobby, where officers found him with several bags containing approximately $3,800 in cash along with ski masks and other clothing matching that worn by the robbers.
United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also ordered Walls to serve a 5-year term of post-imprisonment supervised release, to pay $167,681 in restitution to his victims, and to forfeit $79,117.
After pleading guilty to firearms, armed bank robbery and conspiracy charges, Cohn was sentenced to 241 months in prison by Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the NYSP, the North Greenbush Police Department, and the Albany Police Department, with the assistance of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua R. Rosenthal and Ashlyn Miranda prosecuted the case.
Updated January 16, 2024