Friday, October 30, 2009

“Wig Bandit” Bank Robbers Sentenced to 18 and 20 Years in Federal Prison

Two of the so-called “Wig Bandits,” bank robbers who donned wigs during the commission of armed bank robberies, have been sentenced to federal prison by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell. Andrei Ulisses Chavez, 25, and Francisco Javier Serrano, 23, both Mexican citizens living in Phoenix, each pleaded guilty in June 2009, to one count of Armed Bank Robbery and one count of Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.

Serrano was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in federal prison. Chavez was sentenced in September 2009 to 18 years in federal prison. Four co-defendants are pending sentencing after pleading guilty for each of their roles in the robberies. A final co-defendant is pending trial.

“I applaud the continued success of federal and local law enforcement agencies in bringing bank robbers to justice,” stated U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “These sentences reflect the violent nature of this type of crime.”

“These sentences illustrate the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners and the FBI,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan T. Gray, Phoenix Division. “The Glendale and Phoenix Police Departments were instrumental in the investigation of the ‘Wig Bandits.’ When you reduce the number of violent takeover type bank robbers, it makes our communities safer. We remain committed to reducing the number of robberies in the Valley by working with our prosecuting partners at the County and Federal levels.”

In addition to the co-defendants who are pending sentencing, one additional co-defendant is pending trial. Julio Cesar Feliciano, Jr., 45, of Phoenix, is charged with five armed bank robberies involving multiple firearms and is set for trial beginning November 10, 2009, before Judge Campbell. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Glendale, Phoenix, and Avondale Police Departments. The prosecution is being handled by Alison S. Bachus and Dimitra H. Sampson, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-338(Chavez & Serrano)

Source: FBI Phoenix Office

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