Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wilmington Man Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Federal Prison for Multi-State Bank Robbery Spree

 WILMINGTON, Del. – A Wilmington man was sentenced today to over 9 years in federal prison by the Honorable Richard G. Andrews, for four counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery. 

According to court documents, Michael Wheeler, 41, committed a series of seven bank robberies and attempted bank robberies across Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland over a 24-day period in July and August 2019.  Victim banks were located in Wilmington, Delaware; Elkton, Maryland; Havertown, Pennsylvania; Broomall, Pennsylvania; and Haddon Heights, New Jersey.  Banks impacted included PNC Bank, M&T Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank, among others.

Mr. Wheeler was not armed during the robberies, but led bank employees to believe he was armed and would shoot them if they did not comply with his demands.  In one instance, Mr. Wheeler handed a bank employee a note stating he had a gun; in another, he warned a bank employee not to set off the bank’s alarm system and motioned as if he were reaching for a firearm.  At least one victim has confirmed that she feared for her life.  Over the course of his robbery spree, Mr. Wheeler absconded with a total of $14,165.  

U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss stated, “The defendant’s multi-state bank robbery spree endangered not only the lives of bank personnel, but innocent civilians as well. I want to thank our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

“Michael Wheeler was a walking crime spree, endangering the lives of employees and customers at the banks that he robbed,” said Rachel Byrd, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “We hope today’s sentence sends a clear message that the FBI, and our law enforcement partners, will do everything in our power to bring these offenders to justice.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maureen McCartney and Carly Hudson. The case was investigated by the FBI Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Resident Agency with assistance from the FBI Philadelphia Division’s Philadelphia and South Jersey Residence Agencies; Delaware State Police; Elkton, Maryland Police Department; Haverford Township, Pennsylvania Police Department; and Camden County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office.

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