A suspect is wanted in connection with a South Florida bank robbery that happened on Friday afternoon on a major roadway.
Police reported that the incident began around 1 pm in Boca Raton, Florida. A man wearing a backpack and clothing that covered most of his body walked into a BB&T Bank location on State Road 7 and demanded cash. When he entered the bank he was talking on a cellphone and held out the backpack to ask for the money to be placed inside. Photographs from the scene showed the suspect with a phone in one hand and a backpack in the other, but long sleeves and a jacket are covering his face and most of his body.
A spokesperson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the suspect did receive cash from the bank tellers and got away. The amount he stole was not disclosed.
No injuries occurred and there were no shots fired while the robbery was in progress. The local FBI office for the south Florida metro area provided their phone number for citizens to leave information or tips that may help to lead to the identity of the victim. The person responsible and any possible motive is still unknown at this time.
Why does the federal government prosecute crimes related to banking?
The federal government has original jurisdiction over all crimes related to immigration, finances and investing, taxes, treason, and certain other offenses. There are also federal lands that are part of Native American reservations that the U.S. government technically owns, and they handle all criminal matters that occur within these borders. The two reasons for jurisdiction come from territory that is owned by the federal government, or certain actions that are specifically listed as illegal under federal laws written in the statutes of the U.S. code. As a general matter, anything that crosses borders or state lines and involves illegal trafficking is reserved for federal law enforcement.
While local governments generally prosecute violent crime and property crime, the federal government retains the authority to investigate some offenses that can only be prosecuted in the federal court system, rather than by local governments. In the case of banking, the federal government through the FDIC insures all money that is held within banks in the country, which means that they have an interest in the money stored in every bank.
What are the penalties for robbing a bank?
All bank robberies involve some kind of threat of force of coercion, which is similar to state crimes for assault with a deadly weapon. This means that a bank robbery is always considered a dangerous felony. Other federal agencies may be involved due to the use of illegal firearms, which is a common occurrence during bank robberies. Comparable crimes that are listed in the statutes of state governments such as burglary with a weapon are only a few steps removed from murder in terms of sentencing. This means that someone who is convicted of a felony for bank robbery will generally spend a long time in jail. If someone is hurt or killed during the robbery, this will result in additional charges under the felony murder rule.