How many people does it take to rob a series of Houston-area banks?
More than 14, apparently, because 14 couldn't get the job in 2010 without getting caught.
Yesterday the last two defendants of that ring, who had rejected plea-bargain offers in order to go to trial, got their sentences, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Larry Smith, 37, and Raymond Tierra Johnson, 32, were on trial for a week; after two hours of deliberation, the jury found them guilty of one count each of conspiracy, and seven (Smith) and two (Johnson) counts of bank robbery. Both were also convicted of using a firearm during and in furtherance of a bank robbery.
"The conspiracy involved 'casing' banks for robberies and the selection of banks that did not have security guards or bullet-resistant bandit barriers," the USAO said. "Evidence at trial indicated the conspirators used lookouts during robberies and used stolen or 'hot' cars as getaway vehicles to commit the offenses.
That's quite a lesson in bank-robber jargon! We're going to start throwing around "hot" and "casing" and see what kind of street cred we get. (We don't think you'll ever get us to use the term "getaway vehicles," though.)
It's also painfully obvious that we will need to get a nickname. Unfortunately, the Gang of 14 seems to have grabbed all the good ones. Observe, as we boldface the relevant parts of the USAO's statement:
Co-defendants Gregory Wayne Ferguson, 20, Arlington Davis Wilkes aka AD, 22, Carl Ray Turner Jr. aka CT, 26, Edward Johnson, 28, John Berley Scott aka Fresh, 31, Derrick Lashon Paley aka Crybaby, 34, Michael Maurice Wilson Jr. aka Blue/Mikey Poo, 26, Roderick Marshall Beagle, 40, Michael Dushon Duncan aka Mikey, 21, and Kelvin Dewayne Thomas aka Little Kevin, 22, each had previously entered guilty pleas.
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Wait -- a guy named "Rod Beagle" doesn't get a nickname? The system is broken, good sirs.
"Let these guilty verdicts send a strong message," said Stephen Morris of the FBI. "The old fashioned crime of bank robbery is one that doesn't pay. The FBI will continue to work alongside our local law enforcement partners in the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force to ensure violent criminals are brought to justice."
So beware, all you Mikey Poos and Crybabys out there.