PHILADELPHIA, PA — Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Ronald DeWitt Vines, 47, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond to attempted armed bank robbery and using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, in connection with an armed robbery he and his accomplices, who were two of his sons, attempted to carry out in Bucks County in late 2017.
In January 2018, the defendant was charged by Indictment for attempting to commit the armed robbery of the PNC Bank branch on Buck Road in Holland, PA, in November 2017. To execute the robbery, Vine placed a handgun against the side of a bank employee’s head, forcing her to open the bank door as she arrived for work that morning, and then forcing her inside the bank. A second bank employee screamed when she realized the bank was being robbed. Vines and his accomplices, sons Elijah and Solomon Vines, quickly fled the bank in a getaway vehicle before being stopped by Northampton Township Police Officers responding to a 911 call. A search by patrol officers of the getaway vehicle produced one loaded semi-automatic handgun, one loaded rifle, and two body armor vests.
“This defendant terrified and threatened the lives of bank employees who were just attempting to do their jobs, and he convinced his sons – young men with their whole lives ahead of them – to help him pull it off,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The simple fact is that this family is a danger to the community. This case demonstrates why our All Hands On Deck initiative is so important: we are investigating and prosecuting the most violent criminals to get them off the streets and behind bars.”
“The terror of being forced into her bank at gunpoint is something that employee will likely never forget,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Ronald Vines and his accomplice planned to rob a bank. It’s incredibly fortunate no one was hurt before the robbers opted to flee, and that police officers quickly spotted and stopped their getaway vehicle. Bank robbery isn’t an easy payday, it’s a federal crime, and the FBI and our partners will ensure perpetrators like Vines are held fully accountable.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Northampton Township Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney José R. Arteaga.
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