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Edenton man gets 11 years for bank robbery

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From staff reports

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

NEW BERN —  An Edenton man has been sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for his role in an armed bank robbery in Windsor four years ago.

Michael Rankins, 55, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan on Tuesday to 135 months in prison for armed bank robbery and aiding and abetting the crime, according to a press release from the office of Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Rankins, who pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 8, was also sentenced to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term. 

According to Higdon’s office, Rankins and another man, William Chadwick Twine, robbed the Wells Fargo bank in Windsor on Jan. 9, 2014.

As Rankins entered the bank, he pulled a toboggan over his face that had holes in it cut out for his eyes, Higdon’s office said. Rankins then pointed a BB gun at a teller, and he and Twine threatened the employee, demanding that they be handed money. The men then fled from the bank with $10,465 in cash, driving off in a vehicle.   

Thanks to witnesses, law enforcement officials were able to track down Rankins and Twine’s vehicle and attempt a traffic stop, Higdon’s office said. The men’s vehicle did not stop, however, instead continuing to flee at high speed. The men lost control of the vehicle and it ran off the road and into a field. Both men tried to run from the car on foot but were captured by law enforcement. Officers recovered the cash stolen from the bank as well as the mask and BB gun used in the robbery, according to Higdon’s office.

Twine pleaded guilty to the same charges as Rankins on July 9, 2014, and was sentenced a year later to seven and a half years in prison, Higdon’s office said. He also must complete five years of supervised release after his prison sentence.

Higdon’s office said Rankins’ guilty plea was “unusually delayed” because of issues that had to be resolved before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The press release didn’t state what those issues were. 

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