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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Pittsburgh Man Off to Prison for Attempting to Rob a South Side Bank while in a Wheelchair

PITTSBURGH, PA – A former resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 46 months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release on his conviction of attempted bank robbery, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. 

Senior United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Emanuel Luna, 56.

According to information presented to the court, on August 13, 2019, at approximately 3:19 p.m., Emanuel Luna, in a wheelchair, entered the First National Bank located at 114 E Carson Street.  Mr. Luna, wearing dark pants, a dark hooded sweatshirt, tan undershirt, glass and a black hat, handed a note to the teller that stated: “I have a bomb if you don’t want to die you will give and it is in my backpack I will press the button and kill us all for no less than $50,000 dollars please try me.”  The teller activated the alarm and used her telephone to call the manager. 

The Court was further informed that upon seeing the teller begin to cry and before receiving money from the teller, Luna wheeled himself to the front door and exited the bank.  Surveillance footage captured Mr. Luna exiting the bank, abandoning the wheelchair, and walking to the corner of 12th Street and Carson Street where he waited to board an Allegheny County Port Authority Bus, and also captured Mr. Luna on the bus. 

The City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police along with agents and task force officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, responded to the robbery.  Investigators located the black wheelchair at the corner of E. Carson Street and 12th Street, and recovered a fingerprint from it, which matched Mr. Luna’s fingerprint.  Mr. Luna was later apprehended by law enforcement and has been in custody since then. 

At sentencing, Mr. Luna, through counsel acknowledged that it was a “really stupid crime” and “inconceivable” that he would get away with it. 

The Court, in sentencing Mr. Luna to a within guideline range sentence, of 46 months imprisonment and three years supervised release, explained that the sentence balanced all of the factors the Court is to consider.  The Court explained that the sentence reflects that this was a “very serious” offense, and that going into a bank and threatening to have a bomb is a “terrible situation” to put people under who have no way of knowing whether you actually have a bomb.  The Court further stated that this type of sentence addresses the need to promote respect for the law, signaling to others that it is “not worth it to rob a bank.”  The Court acknowledge that Mr. Luna, whose criminal history only started in his 50s, was given a sentence at the low end of the guideline range for a term of imprisonment, but the maximum amount of time on supervised release, taking into account the need to protect the community from Mr. Luna and ensure that he receives the services he needs to become a productive member of society upon release.

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

 The Federal Bureau of Investigation and City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Luna. 

This case was brought as a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-basedprogram 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated July 29, 2021