Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To His Role In Three Armed Credit Union Robberies
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Adrian D. Applewhite a/k/a Boons, 33, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy to three counts of aggravated bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant robbed three credit unions:
• On the morning of October 26, 2017, Applewhite and two other associates robbed the Lakeshore Federal Credit Union on Erie Road in Evans, NY. Applewhite planned the robbery and provided instructions and a firearm to Khalil Holland to assist the robbery. Holland entered the Lakeshore Federal Credit Union wearing a mask and brandishing a semi-automatic pistol while Applewhite waited in a car nearby. Holland approached the teller and demanded money; however, the alarm was activated, and Holland left without taking any money. Holland was arrested shortly thereafter and subsequently convicted by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. Applewhite also fled the scene but was not apprehended.
• On July 24, 2019, Applewhite entered the South Towns Community Federal Credit Union on South Park Avenue in Lackawanna, NY while co-defendant Ronald Morris, a/k/a Cracks, waited outside. Inside the credit union, Applewhite approached the teller, asked a question, and “cased” the credit union. The next day, on July 25, 2019, Morris and another associate entered the credit union wearing dark colored clothing and face masks and conducted a bank robbery with pepper spray and a pistol while Applewhite, the getaway driver, sat in a car nearby. Morris and the associate traversed the teller’s counter, sprayed the tellers with pepper spray, and went to the unlocked safe. Morris and the associate took $290,500 in United States currency. Applewhite took a share of the proceeds for his role.
• On October 31, 2019, Applewhite entered the Clarence Community and School Federal Credit Union on Sheridan Drive in Clarence, NY. Applewhite approached the teller and asked whether the credit union had an ATM. Applewhite’s sole purpose in entering the credit union was to “case” it and facilitate a future effort by him and his associates to rob it. On November 7, 2019, Morris, and co-defendant Carl Wilson, a/k/a Baby C, armed with a pistol and donning masks and gloves, entered the credit union, and conducted a bank robbery while Applewhite, the getaway driver, sat in a car nearby. Morris and Wilson ordered all the employees to the ground and demanded money. Wilson went behind the teller line and went through teller’s drawers. Morris went to the vault. A total of $148,793.90 in United States currency was taken. The defendant took a share of the proceeds for his role.
Carl Wilson was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing. Charges remain pending against Ronald Morris. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the New York State Police, under the direction of Major James Hall; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Lackawanna Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Packard; the Evans Police Department, under the direction of Chief Douglas J. Czora; the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief James P. Stauffiger; and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney John Flynn.
Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
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