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Press Release

Out-of-State thief gets 30 years for robbing local bank

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

HOUSTON – A 36-year-old bank robber who last resided in the Wilmington, Delaware, area has been ordered to federal prison for robbing an IBC Bank in Houston, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

A federal jury convicted Sye Newton Nov. 19, 2021, on all counts as charged following a two-day-trial and several hours of deliberation.

Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake sentenced him to 276 months for bank robbery as well as 84 months for using a firearm during commission of a crime of violence. The sentences will be served consecutively for a total of 360 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence detailing how Newton committed other felony offenses in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At trial, the jury heard that on March 25, 2019, Newton wore a face covering, glasses and a hijab. He then entered the IBC Bank on Kirkwood Drive in Houston. Once inside, he threatened bank employees with a firearm and ordered them to the ground while he took over the bank lobby and stole a large amount of U.S. currency.  

As he fled, a customer chased after him and was able to obtain the license plate number, ultimately leading to Newton’s arrest.

He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The FBI and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Peneguy and Erin Epley prosecuted the case.

This is an example of coordination between law enforcement who are part of the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative which combines personnel and resources from numerous federal, state and local agencies. The goal is to proactively fight and reduce violent crime across the Greater Houston area by targeting the region’s most violent offenders, augmenting investigative and prosecutorial efforts and enhancing training, public awareness and education. It stems from the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated July 14, 2022

Violent Crime