Gaithersburg man pleads guilty to Frederick bank robbery -- Gazette.Net


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A Gaithersburg man is facing 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing a Capital One Bank in Frederick last December.

Ashref Abil Bannaga, 32, admitted to robbing about $5,995 in cash from the Capital One in the Frederick Shopping Center on Dec. 7, 2011, using a ski mask and BB gun to threaten employees and several bank patrons, according to his plea agreement filed Dec. 21.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” Bannaga reportedly told one witness, hefting the weapon as he passed the witness on their way into the bank as Bannaga was leaving.

That witness was able to provide police a description of the black truck Bannaga used to make his escape — all the way to the other side of the parking lot, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday. Bannaga, who was working as a construction worker renovating a grocery store adjacent to the bank, was quickly identified by officers who found the truck parked near the store and determined Bannaga had rented it only the day before, said Marcia Murphy, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman.

Just more than a year after Bannaga was arrested in the parking lot along with all the evidence — a replica BB gun and black ski mask — needed to charge him, the Gaithersburg resident pleaded guilty to one count of armed bank robbery, Murphy said.

Bannaga likely is to face an even stiffer penalty when he is sentenced due to his criminal history, which includes a conviction for another bank robbery in Virginia in 2006, Murphy said.

“[His sentence] could be anywhere from 41 months to 105 months, which is the highest penalty, and I would imagine he would get at least five years,” Murphy said Friday. “His conviction in 2006 will definitely give him a higher criminal history and that’s one of the things that the judge takes into account when he’s imposing a sentence.”

Bannaga’s attorney, Federal Public Defender Patrick Kent, was not immediately available for comment Friday.

jarias@gazette.net