Convicted Felon Sentenced To 25 Years in Prison for Armed Robberies of Two Banks and Minneapolis Apparel Store

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 300 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for a Hobbs Act robbery and multiple armed bank robberies. Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright sentenced the defendant.

According to court documents, on February 4, 2018, Richard Alonzo Woods, 38, and two accomplices entered Project SoZo, a business that sold apparel and accessories in Minneapolis, brandishing handguns and threatening customers and employees. Woods and his accomplices stole jewelry, money, and cell phones from the customers, approximately $600 in cash from the register along with other store merchandise, including Nike Air Jordan shoes valued at $1,900.

According to court documents, on February 22, 2018, Woods and two accomplices entered Lake Area Bank in White Bear Lake brandishing guns and demanding money from the tellers. Surveillance video footage from the bank showed Woods jump over a counter and demand money a teller’s drawer while pointing a firearm at the teller’s head. Woods and his accomplices stole approximately $9,816 in cash from the bank.

According to court documents, on May 4, 2018, Woods and an accomplice entered Bremer Bank in Brooklyn Center brandishing guns and demanding money from the tellers. They also threatened to kill the tellers if they did not comply with the demands.  A third accomplice was waiting in a getaway car. Woods and his accomplices stole approximately $88,618 in cash from the bank.

On November 10, 2021, Woods pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act), two counts of armed bank robbery, two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery.

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This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is the result of investigations conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Minneapolis Police Department, the White Bear Lake Police Department, and the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha H. Bates and Amber M. Brennan.