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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Sentenced for Random Robbery of Key Bank in Downtown

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been sentenced in federal court to a term of imprisonment of time served (approximately 19 months), to be followed by three years of supervised release on his conviction of bank robbery, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Jonathan Owens-El, age 56.  

According to information presented to the court, on March 19, 2018, Owens-El entered Key Bank, Downtown Pittsburgh, with a blue knit scarf around his face and wearing gloves. Owens-El passed the teller a note that said, "No Dye, No Alarm 50’s, 20’s, 10’s". The teller handed him $260 in U.S. Currency along with $40 wrapped around a GPS tracker. Owens-El fled and police used the GPS device to locate him on a PAT bus.

After boarding the bus, the officer noticed Owens-El seated in the back with a blue scarf tucked under his leg. When the officer asked Owens-El to stand up, the officer saw U.S. Currency protruding from his left front pants pocket.

Owens-El agreed to an interview and admitted that he handed the teller a note demanding money. He stated that once he received the cash, he placed the money into a bag then walked towards Smithfield Street and boarded a PAT bus. Owens said he picked Key Bank at random and decided to rob the bank to support his drug addiction.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Owens-El through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is 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 October 15, 2019

Violent Crime