Man gets 20 years in federal prison for holding up two banks, grocery store in Mt. Pleasant
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A North Charleston man who held up two banks and a grocery store in Mount Pleasant has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced on Thursday that 31-year-old Leonard Franklin Clark was sentenced for his role in three robberies. The government’s evidence showed that on May 9, 2017, Leonard Clark and his accomplices robbed a grocery store on Highway 41.
Prosecutors say Kalee Lynn-Bishop entered the store hours before the robbery to surveil the robbery location.
“During the robbery, three masked men, including Leonard Clark and Cortlyn Brown, entered the grocery store while Kamal Backman remained in a vehicle to serve as the lookout and getaway driver,” authorities said."The men that entered the grocery store carried firearms, brandishing the firearms in furtherance of the robbery."
A report states the gunmen ordered the employees to lay face down on the floor while pointing the weapons to their heads. The men stole $9,109.00 from the store.
Then on May 12, 2017, Leonard Clark, Cortlyn Brown, and Kamal Backman robbed a bank on Park West Boulevard, prosecutors said.
“Kalee Lynn-Bishop entered the bank prior to the robbery to surveil the location,” authorities said."At approximately 3:56 p.m., four masked men entered the bank armed with firearms and demanded money. The men pointed their guns at the employees, brandishing the firearms in furtherance of the robbery."
According to prosecutors, the defendants stole $21,238 and an employee’s cell phone and purse.
Finally, on July 11, 2017, at 9 a.m., Leonard Clark and a second man robbed a bank on Anna Knapp Blvd.
“Both men carried firearms and pointed the weapons at the bank tellers in furtherance of the robbery,” prosecutors said."The men stole $13,227.00 from the bank, but a bank teller was able to insert a dye pack into the stolen money."
Authorities say the next day, Leonard Clark deposited $1,440 in dye-stained money into his bank account through an ATM in West Ashley. Prosecutors said that same day, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office performed a traffic stop on Leonard Clark’s registered vehicle while he was the sole occupant and driver of the vehicle.
According to a report, during a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers located a Springfield 9mm firearm with an extended magazine containing 19 rounds and one in the chamber. The gun was reported stolen from Coastal Firearms in Cainhoy.
Officers also located $2,735.00 in cash on Leonard Clark’s person.
“On July 21, 2017, investigators obtained a search warrant for Leonard Clark’s North Charleston residence,” prosecutors said."The sink in the master bathroom was covered in red dye, and investigators recovered dye-stained cash from numerous areas in the master bedroom."
Investigators also reported locating an empty Smith & Wesson box, black gloves, a black and camo mask, and bank documents for Leonard Clark in the master bedroom.
Authorities said shortly thereafter, officers initiated a traffic stop on Leonard Clark’s vehicle.
“A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed items consistent with Clark’s involvement in the robberies: a white and black bandana and a black ski mask in the back seat, black gloves with blue trim, a loaded Smith & Wesson magazine, and a silver and black Smith & Wesson handgun stained with red dye,” prosecutors said."The handgun had the same serial number as the empty Smith & Wesson box located in Clark’s bedroom at the North Charleston residence."
Prosecutors released the following additional information:
The Honorable Richard M. Gergel, who sentenced Clark, previously sentenced Clark’s three codefendants, Cortlyn DaQuan Brown, 23; Kamal De’Andrea Backman, 21; and Kalee Lynn-Bishop, 25, all of Mt. Pleasant, for their roles in the grocery store and bank robberies. Cortlyn Brown received a 10-year federal prison sentence on November 6, 2018. Kamal Backman received a 108-month sentence on January 25, 2019. Kalee Lynn-Bishop received a 44-month sentence on November 6, 2018.
The convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Limehouse of the Charleston office and JD Rowell of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.
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