A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Gaithersburg man who used a bogus chemical weapons threat to rob a bank in Laurel and left another bank empty handed after a teller told him he needed a withdrawal slip in order to take the cash.
U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar ordered Mark Edward Coulter, 55, to serve 17 years and six months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to records filed in court, Coulter went into a PNC bank branch at 3386 Fort Meade Road on May 3, 2012 carrying a bag. He handed the teller a note that said “there are chemicals in the bag, don’t pull the alarm, no bait money, and nobody will get hurt.”
Coulter made off with $4,500 in cash, but he left his bag at the bank.
An Anne Arundel County Fire Department hazmat team and City of Annapolis Fire & Explosives Services unit deployed a robot to secure the supposed “chemical weapon,” which was found to be a harmless rock, according to records filed in federal court.
On May 21, 2012, Coulter tried to rob a Capitol One Bank at 3355 Corridor Marketplace in Laurel. According to federal court documents, he handed a teller a note that said “today is not a good day to die, just give me the money.”
Prosecutors claim the teller did not understand the request and told Coulter that he needed a withdrawal slip. As a result, Coulter left the bank without the cash.
He also left the note, which was apparently written on part of a receipt from a Laurel hotel — where he was eventually questioned by police, according to court records.
Police matched Coulter’s fingerprints to prints recovered from the note and from inside the bank. They also had his DNA from the bag he left behind in the May 3 robbery, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
An attorney for Coulter could not be reached Thursday.