Gun or Not, Bank Robbery a Federal Crime

Gun or Not, Bank Robbery a Federal Crime

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Sam Penrod ReportingWe've all seen a record number of bank robberies in recent months and police say there's an idea floating around among robbers that if you don't use a gun you won't face stiffer federal charges. But federal prosecutors made a point today that it's just not true.

For example, a man went into a Bank One on Highland Drive and handed over a threatening note demanding cash. The teller complied and handed money over to the suspect. No gun was ever seen.

It's a rising number of cases like this one that federal prosecutors are seeing. They say many suspects who are caught, who did not use a gun, question why they are being prosecuted federally, which carries much stiffer penalites.

Prosecutors say the law allows federal charges for any robbery of a bank or credit union.

Paul Warner, U.S Attorney For Utah: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. We intend to seriously pursue people who commit these crimes and ensure that they do the time."

Consequenses of bank robbery even without a weapon, includes up to 20 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say a man sentenced just yesterday for robbing two banks last year, in which he threatened to use a gun, netted a 16 year prison sentence. And in the federal system, there is no such thing as early release or parole.

Law enforcement officials say they hope would be bank robbers will think twice and consider the consequences if they are caught robbing a bank.

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