Law Enforcement Girds Vs. Seasonal Bank Robberies

The FBI Washington Field Office with law enforcement partners on the Violent Crimes Task Forces in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia is proactively working to counteract bank robberies this holiday season, according to a press release forwarded from the City of Falls Church this week. For the past two years, according to the press release, a quarter of all bank robberies in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia have taken place in the month of December. Additional analysis shows that the number of bank robberies committed in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia tripled during this one month of the holiday season. Law enforcement is actively sharing information with banks and the public to create heightened awareness of this issue and warn individuals who may be inclined to rob or attempt to rob banks of law enforcement’s increased focus.

In December 2013, there were 17 bank robberies committed in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Of those robberies, 13 have been solved. The majority of bank robberies committed during this time frame involved “crews” of robbers who hit more than once or were committed by lone serial robbers. Between October and December 2013, a crew of three men, James McNeal, Alphonso Stoddard and James Link, committed a series of four armed bank robberies in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The men were arrested immediately after robbing a bank in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 31, 2013. On Sept. 19, 2014, Link was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison and on Nov. 7, 2014, McNeal was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Stoddard received three concurrent life sentences in prison due to prior convictions for armed bank robberies. The FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force works to combat bank robberies in Washington, D.C. The Northern Virginia Violent Crimes Task Force partners include: Alexandria, Arlington County, Falls Church, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Herndon, Leesburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, Vienna and Virginia State police departments; and the Fauquier County and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Offices.