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Serial bank robber admits hitting six area banks in six weeks

A Godfrey man has admitted to six area bank robberies in a span of six weeks.

scalesofjusticelogoDandre R. Brown, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to a six-count federal indictment charging him with five counts of bank robbery and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.

The five charged robberies all took place in Madison County during a six-week span from November 2017 to January 2018:

– Nov. 29, 2017, Alton, U.S. Bank
– Dec. 20, 2017, Godfrey, Reliance Bank
– Dec. 22, 2017, East Alton, Regions Bank
– Jan. 2, 2018, Wood River, U.S. Bank
– Jan. 10, 2018, Edwardsville, 1st MidAmerica Credit Union

As part of his guilty plea, Brown admitted committing a sixth robbery involving the U.S. Bank in Florissant, Mo., on Dec. 11, 2017, and afterward fleeing in a stolen car back to Illinois. That conduct formed the basis for Brown’s stolen vehicle conviction on the sixth count.

Brown stole nearly $37,000 in total from the six banks.

Brown’s bank robberies all followed the same routine. Brown would enter the bank alone wearing something covering his head. He would present the teller with a note and then flee with the money to a vehicle parked a block or two away. On multiple occasions, when demanding money from the bank tellers, Brown would tell them he knew where they lived, intimating that he might come after them personally if they did anything to thwart his crimes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois credited crack police work with solving the cases. After robbing the U.S. Bank in Alton, Brown dropped the demand note he had presented the teller. The note read, “Give me all the money NO Die Packs I have a weapon.”

Officers with the Alton Police Department found the note in the grass across the street from the bank and sent it to the FBI crime lab, where four latent fingerprints and one latent palm print were discovered and subsequently matched to Brown.

After a federal arrest warrant was issued, the United States Marshals Service tracked Brown to Atlanta, Ga., where they apprehended him on Jan. 23.

During Tuesday’s plea hearing, prosecutors recounted additional evidence tying Brown to the crimes, including identifying characteristics visible in bank surveillance video and Brown’s connection to the various vehicles used in the robberies. One of those vehicles – a 2016 Chrysler 300 – Brown admitted stealing from a parking lot at the Gateway Regional Hospital in Granite City, shortly before robbing the U.S. Bank in Florissant.

In exchange for Brown’s admission and guilty plea, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri agreed to forego prosecution of the Florissant robbery.

Brown is being held without bond pending his sentencing hearing, which is set for Feb. 26, 2019, at 1:30 p.m., at the federal courthouse in Benton.. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment on each of his five robbery convictions, and up to 10 years imprisonment on his conviction for transporting a stolen vehicle. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 3 years supervised release. Brown may also be ordered to pay restitution.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, and the Alton Police Department, in concert with the Illinois State Police, Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the following police departments: Granite City, St. Louis County, Godfrey, East Alton, Wood River, and Edwardsville. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James G. Piper Jr.

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