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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Armed Bank Robber Sentenced to 16 1/2 Years in Federal Prison

EUGENE, Ore. – On February 9, 2017, U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane sentenced Jeffrey Edward Ownby, 30, of Medford, Oregon, to 198 months in federal prison for committing three armed bank robberies, using a sawed-off shotgun in committing a violent felony and unlawful possession of a destructive device. Ownby was ordered to pay restitution to his victims and will be on supervised release for five years following his prison sentence.

Ownby committed the bank robberies in Medford over a one-year span. In each instance, he wore disguises and brandished firearms in front of customers and employees. On May 16, 2014, Ownby entered the Bank of the Cascades wearing a gray bandana and carrying a drawstring bag. He pulled out a handgun, swung it around and told everyone to “get on the ground.” He said, “you know what this is” before putting the bag on a desk and demanding bank employees fill it with money. Ownby fled with approximately $5,878.

On December 22, 2014, Ownby entered the Washington Federal Bank wearing a fake beard, camouflage head covering and clear glasses. He pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the bank tellers and threw a backpack on the counter. In a similar fashion, he stated “you know exactly what this is” and demanded that tellers put money in the bag. He took approximately $7,969 from the bank before fleeing and again avoiding capture by law enforcement.

On April 1, 2015, Ownby entered the America West Bank wearing a hat and fake beard. He pulled a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun out of his backpack, pointed it at bank personnel and once again said in a loud voice “you know what this is” as he put the backpack on the teller counter. Bank tellers put approximately $2,375 in Ownby’s bag before he fled.

Police released surveillance photos of the robber to the news media. After spotting his resemblance on a local news report, some of Ownby’s former co-workers contacted police. On April 2, 2015, police served a search warrant at Ownby’s Medford residence and found the sawed-off shotgun and a majority of the money stolen the day prior. Police also found Molotov cocktails in a bag in Ownby’s truck along with his robbery disguises. When interviewed by police, Ownby confessed to the three bank robberies and told them he had pawned the handgun he used to commit the first two. Later, police seized the handgun from a local pawnshop.

This case was investigated by the Medford Police Department and the FBI and was prosecuted by Judith Harper and Byron Chatfield, Assistant United States Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated February 9, 2017