AVON, RI – A Rhode Island man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for five bank robberies, including one that resulted in a high-speed chase.
Charles Lamont Wheeler, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In March 2020, Wheeler pleaded guilty to five counts of bank robbery. Co-defendant Dong Lee, 50, of Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on Oct. 13, 2020, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 16, 2021.
Between Sept. 8, 2018 and Sept. 14, 2018, five banks in the Greater Boston area were robbed. Based on the similarity of the robberies, and the descriptions of the robbers provided by bank tellers, it was determined that the same two individuals were responsible for these robberies. On Sept. 14, 2018, Wheeler and Lee robbed a branch of the Abington Bank in Avon. Later in the day, Wheeler and Lee robbed a branch of the Crescent Credit Union in Brockton and were both arrested following a high-speed car chase in Attleboro.
Following an interview and review of banks’ surveillance tapes, it was determined that Wheeler and Lee, were responsible for the robberies of the Santander Bank in Andover on Sept. 8, 2018; Berkshire Bank in Boston on Sept. 8, 2018; Rockland Trust in Braintree on Sept. 12, 2018; Abington Savings Bank in Avon on Sept. 14, 2018; and Crescent Credit Union in Brockton on Sept.14, 2018.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Boston Police Commissioner William Gross; Brockton Police Chief Emanuel Gomes; Avon Police Chief Jeffrey J. Bukunt; Braintree Police Chief Mark W. Dubois; and Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe made the announcement today. Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.