The Tuscaloosa News recently reported about a woman dressed as a man who has been robbing banks in the area.
Theft crimes in Alabama can be anything from shoplifting to armed robbery. And the severity of the charges vary depending on many factors, including whether weapons are used or threats of violence are made by the suspects. Hiring an experienced and aggressive Birmingham Robbery Defense Attorney is important in order to protect the rights of the defendant and ensure justice is done.
According to the news report, a woman with a fake beard and dressed like a man threatened bank tellers recently that she had a bomb during a robbery at the Cottondale branch of the Bank of Tuscaloosa. Authorities believe the woman could be linked to another bank robbery from earlier this month.
Law enforcement reports that the woman, who had a "drawn-on" beard entered the bank and demanded money while placing a device on the counter. After leaving the bank with an undisclosed amount of money, she fled in a maroon vehicle with tinted windows.
While the bank robber threatened that the device was a bomb, police determined it was not. FBI investigators suspect this bank robber is the same who robbed a bank in Brookwood on July 19. While witnesses described that suspect as a man, whose image was captured by surveillance cameras, they believe it may be the same woman who robbed the Cottondale bank.
Bank robbery is tricky because people arrested are charged federally as opposed to in state court because money secured in banks is federally insured. So, the FBI will typically investigate these cases, along with local law enforcement. U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2113 defines bank robbery and tells what financial institutions are covered by federal statutes. Depending on the facts of the case, a person can face up to 25 years in federal prison for bank robbery.
But other theft crimes in Alabama can be pursued by state prosecutors. That can be stealing from a convenience store all the way to breaking into someone's house with force, while armed, and committing a robbery.
State laws define robbery in Section 13A-8 and can be charged as a third-degree, second-degree or first-degree felony:
Third-degree robbery: Committing a theft while using force or threatening force
Second-degree robbery: Committing a third-degree robbery while aided by another person who is present
First-degree robbery: Committing a third-degree robbery while armed or if causing serious physical injury.
A Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while a Class B is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a Class A felony is punishable by up to life in prison.
Obviously, with the penalties so severe, aggressively defending against the charges is critical. In cases where witnesses allegedly saw what happened, their statements to police, coupled with the evidence that may contradict them, can be used to disprove the state's theories. The state sometimes lacks important evidence that can lead to not guilty verdicts at trial. Exploring all options and all possible defenses to the charges is the job of diligent criminal defense attorney in all criminal cases in Birmingham.