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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery Spree in August 2016

Plea Agreement Requires Imposition of 20 to 30 Year Prison Sentence; Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher James Baum, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to six bank robbery charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Baum will be sentenced within the range of 20 to 30 years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Baum was arrested in Aug. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with robbing four banks and attempting to rob a fifth bank in Bernalillo County, N.M., between Aug. 16, 2016 and Aug. 24, 2016.  According to the complaint, Baum committed the bank robberies by entering Albuquerque-area banks and demanding money from bank tellers.

During today’s proceedings, Baum pled guilty to a felony information charging him with six counts of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery.  In entering the guilty plea, Baum admitted the following criminal conduct:

  • Robbing the Bank of the West branch located at 5901 Menaul Blvd. NE on Aug. 16, 2016;
  • Robbing the Bank of the West branch located at 2101 Eubank Blvd. NE on Aug. 19, 2016;
  • Attempting to rob the Bank of Albuquerque branch located at 4201 Wyoming Blvd. NE on Aug. 23, 2016;
  • Robbing the Nusenda Credit Union branch located at 7517 Montgomery Blvd. NE on Aug. 23, 2016;
  • Robbing the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 4700 Tramway Blvd. NE on Aug. 24, 2016; and
  • Robbing the Bank of the West branch located at 780 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE on Aug. 30, 2016.

Baum also admitted brandishing a pistol at the bank teller when he committed the Aug. 30, 2016 bank robbery.  Baum remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled. 

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Spindle is prosecuting the case.

Baum, whose criminal history includes three prior bank robbery convictions, is being prosecuted under a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.

Violent Crime
Updated November 3, 2016