APPLETON, WISCONSIN – Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that Xengxai Yang (age: 21), formerly of Appleton, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for his role in a credit union robbery. Following a bench trial in October 2020, Senior United States District Judge William C. Griesbach found Yang guilty of Armed Bank Robbery, Brandishing a Short-Barreled Rifle During a Crime of Violence, and Possession of a Short-Barreled Rifle. On February 4, 2021, Judge Griesbach imposed the following sentences:G
|One||Armed Bank Robbery||48 months in prison|
|Two||Brandishing a Short-Barreled Rifle During a Crime of Violence||120 months in prison, consecutive to other counts|
|Three||Possession of a Short-Barreled Rifle||48 months in prison, concurrent with Count One|
After Yang completes his 168-month sentence, he will be on supervised release for a total of five years.
Court records revealed the following. On March 15, 2019, Yang entered a federally insured credit union on the west side of Appleton, Wisconsin. Yang wore a black plastic theater mask, sunglasses, and a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and his head covered. As he approached the counter, Yang pulled out a short-barreled shotgun and demanded money from the teller. Yang held the tellers at gunpoint while they gave him the money in their cash drawers. Yang placed the money in a bag and used cable ties to restrain two of the employees. Yang then left the credit union on foot. Officers with the Appleton Police Department apprehended Yang about a block away and recovered over $10,000 in cash. Yang admitted robbing the credit union, telling an Appleton detective, that he “decided to try something new today, so I robbed a bank.” The rifle used during the robbery had a barrel of 9.5 inches and was illegal for Yang to possess.
In sentencing Yang, Judge Griesbach noted the serious nature of the offense. Chief Judge Griesbach noted that the offense was “bizarre” in light of a lack of previous criminal history, but also stated “no civilized society can tolerate this.” Judge Griesbach pointed out the tremendous impact the offense had on the credit union employees and the need for the sentence to reflect that trauma. Judge Griesbach also observed the need to deter others who might consider similar actions.
The Appleton Police Department investigated the case. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Maier.