Serial bank robber in NC sentenced

CHARLOTTE, NC, April 7, 2010 -- Ricardo Javier Arellano, 23, of Charlotte, was sentenced to serve 408 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Martin Reidinger in federal court in Charlotte on Wednesday, April 7, for a series of armed bank robberies and the forced accompaniment of a bank employee in one of the robberies, to which the defendant had pled guilty on July 27, 2009. Arellano’s cousin, Johnny Enrique Arroba, previously had been sentenced to 114 months’ imprisonment on February 3, 2010, for his role in two of the armed bank robberies.

The sentence consisted of two 300-month (25-year) sentences of imprisonment for armed robbery of First Citizens Bank and for forcing an employee of First Citizens Bank to accompany Arellano during the commission of the First Citizens Bank robbery, and two 108-month sentences of imprisonment for the armed robberies of Truliant Federal Credit Union and Bank of America. The 300-month sentences were imposed concurrent with each other, but consecutive to the 108-month (nine-year) sentences, which were imposed concurrent to each other. The imposition of the consecutive 300-month sentences and 108-month sentences resulted in a total sentence of 408 months’ (34 years’) imprisonment. The defendant also was sentenced to three months’ supervised release, a $400 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $49,467.

During sentencing, Judge Reidinger found that the nature and manner in which the defendant carried out the First Citizens Bank robbery justified a variance from the 135-month sentence computed under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to the 408-month sentence imposed on the defendant. Some of the aggravating factors which Judge Reidinger found that merited the upward variance in the sentence included the early morning home invasion of the First Citizens Bank employee, binding the hands and feet of the employee’s children with tape, threatening harm to the children if the bank employee did not cooperate, forcing the bank employee to drive her car to the bank before it opened for business, and threatening a second bank employee with a gun upon her arrival at work to gain access to the bank’s vault. Judge Reidinger declared that the sentence imposed was necessary, in part, to deter others from attempting to commit bank robbery in a similar manner.

Joining U.S. Attorney Edward R. Ryan in making today’s announcement are Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Operations in North Carolina; and Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.