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Press Release

United States Attorney Announces Significant Sentence In Armed Bank Robbery

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

Suspect shot at police officer four times

INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced the sentence of Pascal S. Sylla, 46, of Anderson, today. Sylla was convicted of one count of attempted bank robbery and one count of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Sylla was sentenced to 35 years by United States District Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

“This case proves the diligence of our federal, state and local law enforcement officials,” said Hogsett. “But it also shows that many in our community who call for longer sentences for criminal activity aren’t paying attention to what we do in the United States Attorney’s Office. A thirty-five year sentence means that Mr. Sylla will never walk our streets again.”

On August 1, 2003, Sylla entered the Madison County Federal Credit Union on 53rd Street in Anderson, Indiana. As he entered he pulled out a chrome semi-automatic pistol and ordered the single customer and teller in view to get on the ground. The customer happened to be the Assistant Chief of Police for the Anderson Police Department, Ray Novak. Novak complied with Sylla’s demands but as Sylla went after the bank teller Novak drew a revolver from his ankle, announced he was police and told Sylla to give up.

Novak and Sylla exchanged gunfire. Sylla instructed the teller to get down and advised Novak he would give up. Instead, he took another shot at Novak, and both exited the bank, Sylla took another shot and then fled the scene. While blood samples were obtained from the scene, the case was unsolved until 2010, when the Anderson Police Department was notified that the DNA obtained at the crime scene matched that of a federal inmate. Sylla was serving time in Terre Haute Penitentiary for committing a 2005 bank robbery.

“This sentencing is the result of outstanding law enforcement cooperation between the FBI, Indiana State Police and the Anderson Police Department,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott.

Anderson Police Chief Larry Crenshaw said, “Today’s sentencing of Sylla is a reminder of the inherent dangers law enforcement officers face each day.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Cynthia Ridgeway, who prosecuted the case for the government, Sylla faces three years of supervised release after serving his sentence.

Updated January 26, 2015