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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pittsburgh Man Sentenced for Robbing Bank with a BB Gun

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to time served in prison, five years supervised release, and 180 days of home detention with electronic monitoring on his conviction of armed bank robbery, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan imposed the sentence on Lamar Sewell, age 39.

According to information presented to the Court, Sewell robbed the Key Bank, located at 217 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, with what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun but was later identified as a BB gun. A total of $1,198.00 was taken from the bank during this bank robbery. The Court was further informed that the money given to Sewell contained a GPS tracking device, which enabled law enforcement to ultimately locate Sewell.

After fleeing from the bank, Sewell was located driving a Honda Civic. Officers in a marked vehicle, activated their lights and sirens but Sewell refused to pull over. Eventually, he reached a dead end street. Sewell exited the vehicle and led law enforcement on a foot chase through Frick Park. Officers observed the mask, wig and BB gun inside of the vehicle.

Sewell was apprehended and taken into police custody. Once in custody, Sewell admitted to robbing the bank and apologized for scaring the victim tellers at the bank and the law enforcement officers and agents who chased him through Frick Park. Sewell explained that voices told him to rob the bank. Post-arrest, the Court was informed that Sewell was diagnosed with schizophrenia approximately 10 years ago and has had mental health issues since he was a teenager, including several commitments.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Horan explained that under ordinary circumstances, a substantial term of imprisonment would be warranted. The Court found Sewell’s case to be an exception, based primarily on his mental health status at the time of the offense and pre-sentence rehabilitation. The Court noted that Sewell’s current mental health treatment regimen, which includes a team of mental health professionals and counseling, coupled with his family’s support, has been effective over the last 18 months and is most likely to result in Sewell’s continued stability.

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

United States Attorney Brady commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Sewell.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Updated September 25, 2020