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Press Release

New York man pleads guilty to Brunswick, Ga., bank robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Defendant faces up to 20 years in federal prison

BRUNSWICK, GA:  A New York man has admitted to robbing a Brunswick bank in October 2019.

Lionel Valenzuela, 54, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Brunswick to one count of Bank Robbery, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, followed by up to three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

In his plea, Valenzuela admitted robbing the Ameris Bank at 3440 Cypress Road in Brunswick on Oct. 30, 2019. Valenzuela threatened the clerk by saying he had a firearm and demanding money. He ran from the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, and was quickly captured by Brunswick Police officers after a private citizen identified him. The cash from the robbery was recovered, but no weapon was found.

“Lionel Valenzuela needlessly put working people in fear for their lives for the sole purpose of stealing money,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “We’re grateful to the alert bystander and the Brunswick Police officers who stopped Valenzuela’s brief crime spree, and hope a substantial prison sentence will bring it to a permanent end.”

“The FBI would like to thank the citizen who helped the Brunswick police officers arrest Valenzuela,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “It’s another example of how our partnerships with law enforcement agencies and our reliance on the public for assistance are vital in protecting our citizens.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Brunswick Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kirkland and Joshua Bearden.


Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422

Updated February 7, 2020

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 12-20