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Press Release

Ringleader Sentenced to 22 Years for Nine Bank Robberies

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

MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jonathan L. Thompson, 31, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison today by U.S. District Court Judge William M. Conley on nine counts of aiding and abetting bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm.  Thompson was convicted on January 30, 2019, after a three-day jury trial.

This case involved a series of nine bank robberies that were planned by Thompson, who was also the getaway driver.  The robberies took place at banks in Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, and Fitchburg and occurred between January 8 and February 22, 2018.  Robert Minette, Kiefah Marbra, and Thompson were indicted by a federal grand jury for these bank robberies on May 30, 2018.  Minette was involved in the first two robberies and Marbra was involved in the latter eight of them.

Thompson chose the banks he wanted to rob and dropped off Marbra and Minette, who would enter the bank, brandish a gun, and demand money.  After the robberies, Thompson would drive them back to his apartment where he would divide the proceeds. 

In sentencing Thompson, Judge Conley found that Thompson was the leader and organizer in all of these robberies.  Judge Conley was troubled by the fact that Thompson brought his teenage nephew, Marbra, into this scheme and put Marbra out front to be the fall guy.  Judge Conley said that Thompson’s actions were “cynically calculated,” and that he lacked remorse for involving his nephew.  Further, Judge Conley noted the severity of these violent crimes and the impact on the victims.

On January 15, 2019, both Marbra and Minette pleaded guilty to one count of brandishing a firearm.  Marbra also pled to the eight bank robberies that he was involved in, while Minette pled to the two bank robberies in which he was involved.   Marbra was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison on April 16.  Minette was sentenced on March 28 to nine years in federal prison.

The charges in this case are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Madison Police Department, Middleton Police Department, Sun Prairie Police Department, Fitchburg Police Department, and Dane County Sheriff’s Office.  The Dane County District Attorney’s Office also assisted in this case.  The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Corey Stephan and Daniel Graber.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime.  The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.

Updated April 24, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods