Thursday, July 29, 2021

Brackenridge Man Admits Taking $101,000 in Armed Robbery of Federal Credit Union

 PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of armed bank robbery, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Thomas George, 66, pleaded guilty to one count before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that on July 10, 2019, at approximately 2:00 PM, George entered the Allegheny-Ludlum Brackenridge Federal Credit Union, located at 1131 Brackenridge Avenue, Brackenridge, PA 15014, wearing a white “Guy Fawkes” style mask, black hooded sweatshirt, dark gray sweatpants, and gray gym shoes.  He then approached the teller counter, pointed what appeared to be a pistol at the two tellers working behind the counter, and demanded the tellers open the gate that led to the area behind the counter.  The tellers complied with George’s demand, opened the gate and George proceeded through the gate into the teller area where he then demanded the vault be opened.  George continued to point what appeared to be pistol at the teller, who was using a walker, and forced the teller to open the vault.  After the vault was opened, George took approximately $101,000.00 from the Credit Union.  

The Court was further informed that an individual saw George leaving the Credit Union and run to a vehicle, which investigators identified, from surveillance footage and license plate readers, as a dark blue Ford Escape that was registered in George’s name, and drive away from the Credit Union.

Additionally, Credit Union employees also confirmed that George was a long-time customer of the Credit Union and had been at the Credit Union on the morning of the robbery, driving the dark blue Ford Escape, to make a $50.00 deposit. 

After obtaining a federal search warrant, on July 16, 2019, investigators arrived at George’s residence, where they learned from several family members, including a teenage grandson, that George was in the basement with a pistol. 

Investigators communicated with George via telephone and four hours and 30 minutes later, he surrendered to law enforcement.  During their communications George expressed his remorse and stated that the cash was in the furnace of the basement.  After George surrendered, investigators located a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun, that was fully loaded and had a round chambered, on the basement steps, as well as the bag, containing $90,195 of stolen money, in the furnace.

Following his arrest, George waived his rights and provided a full confession to investigators, admitting that he robbed the credit union but told investigators that he used a bb gun and did not want to hurt anyone. 

Chief Judge Hornak has not yet scheduled sentencing.  The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 25 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Mr. George remains on bond, with conditions imposed by the Court, pending sentencing. 

Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca L. Silinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Brackenridge Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

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