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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 20, 2020

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Three Men For Their Roles In Violent Robberies Of Two Local Credit Unions

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Adrian D. Applewhite, a/k/a Boons, 32, of Cheektowaga, NY; along with  Ronald L. Morris, a/k/a Cracks, 45, and Carl I. Wilson, Jr., a/k/a Baby C, 35, both of Buffalo, NY, with aggravated bank robbery, brandishing a firearm, entering a bank with intent to commit a larceny, and bank larceny. In addition, defendant Morris is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on July 25, 2019, defendants Applewhite and Morris entered the Southtowns Community Federal Credit Union (SC FCU) on South Park Avenue in Lackawanna, and conducted a bank robbery with pepper spray and a pistol. The two suspects traversed the teller's counter, sprayed the tellers with pepper spray, and went directly to the unlocked safe, removing $290,500.00 in United States currency. The defendants placed the currency in a dark colored duffle bag then fled on foot.

On November 7, 2019, the three defendants are accused of entering the Clarence Community and School Federal Credit Union (CCS FCU), on Sheridan Drive in Clarence and conducted a take-over style bank robbery. Armed with pistols, and donning masks and florescent green work gloves, at least two of the defendants holding hand guns ordered all the employees to the ground and demanded money. Two of the defendants went back behind the teller line and went through teller's drawers. The third robber went to the vault. The defendants stole a total of $148,793.90.

Defendant Morris was previously convicted of three felonies, two in New York State Court in 1993 and 2002, and one in Erie County Court in 1996. As a result, he is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition.

“The tremendous work done by federal, state, and local law enforcement in this case, led to the apprehension of three violent bank robbers who sought to retain their anonymity—and their criminality—behind a cloud of pepper spray, masks, and illegal guns,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Despite a barrage of recent criticism, the conduct by law enforcement in this investigation demonstrates the selfless and invaluable role that our partners in law enforcement play in unmasking, disarming, and apprehending dangerous individuals, who disregard the law, place their own interests above all others, and in the process, endanger the safety and well-being of ordinary citizens everywhere.”

The defendants were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and detained.

The indictment 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; and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney John Flynn.

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. 

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Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Updated July 20, 2020