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Press Release

Serial Robber Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Robbery of an Indianapolis Business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS- James Bennett, 44, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to 9 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempted commercial robbery.

According to court documents, on November 4, 2022, Bennett entered a PetSmart store on the East side of Indianapolis. Once inside, Bennett pointed what appeared to be a firearm at the cashier’s head and hit her with the weapon as he demanded she give him money, but she was unable to open the cash register. Bennett then unsuccessfully attempted to open the register himself by banging on it with his firearm. Bennett left the store. The entire attempted robbery was captured on video.

Before attempting to rob the PetSmart, Bennet was convicted of five separate robberies and a burglary, and one prior conviction for sexual intercourse with a minor. He was sentenced to prison in 2007 and released on July 30, 2022, just 3 months before he attempted to rob the PetSmart.

“This defendant assaulted and terrorized an innocent woman just doing her job,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “The sentence imposed here demonstrates that robbery is not a quick way to make some money—it’s a quick way to end up in prison. Our office, the FBI and IMPD, are committed to protecting the public by taking repeat, violent criminals off our streets.”

FBI and IMPD investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. Judge Stinson also ordered that Bennett be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy C. Fugate, who prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


Updated October 20, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods