Armed Bank Robbery Sends Final Two To Prison
HOUSTON – The final two defendants convicted in the armed robbery and attempted robbery of two local banks have been ordered to federal prison, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Andrea Steptore, 30, Odis Darrell Wheeler, 21, both of Houston, had previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting aggravated bank robbery. Steptore was further convicted of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Today, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who accepted the guilty pleas, sentenced Steptore to a sentence of 67 months for the underlying bank robbery charge, but also received a mandatory seven years for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively for a total sentence of 151 months. Wheeler was ordered to serve a 46-month-term of imprisonment. Both will also serve a term of three years on supervised release following completion of their sentences.
On Sept. 9, 2010, Steptore and Barry Ogilvie, 37, of Houston, were armed with firearms and robbed the Prosperity Bank located on the 2800 block of F.M. 1960 East in Houston. During the robbery, Ogilvie shot two rounds of ammunition into a wall. No one was injured, but behind the wall was a drive-thru teller stand. Zachary Ellis, 48, of Houston, had selected the bank, scouted it prior to the robbery and shared in the proceeds.
Less than two weeks later, Ogilvie and Steptore attempted to rob the Vista Bank on the 14500 block of Northwest Freeway in Houston. They were both armed with semi-automatic pistols and wore masks. When they approached the bank, an off-duty police officer, who was working security at the bank, saw them and began firing at them. Steptore was able to flee in the getaway vehicle driven by a third individual, but Ogilvie was arrested. Odis Darrell Wheeler, 21, of Houston, stole a car which was used in the robbery and waited around the corner in a switch vehicle. Ellis had again selected the bank, told his co-conspirators he had scouted it prior to the robbery and planned to share in the proceeds.
Ogilvie and Ellis also pleaded guilty and were previously sentenced to 198 and 97 months, respectively. Steptore, Ogilvie and Ellis were further ordered to pay restitution to Prosperity Bank.
The case was investigated by FBI Houston Bank Robbery Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Jennie Basile is prosecuting the case.