Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Announce Four Arrests in 2008 Staged Robbery

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and Janice Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that Janell Nelson, formerly a Dunbar Armored car courier, and three others were charged in connection with staging a September 2008 robbery of Nelson as she was preparing to deliver money to an M&T Bank branch in New York, New York. Nelson’s three co-defendants, Kyonta Bailey, Wadner Philippe, and Pearl McDougald, were taken into custody today and presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman this afternoon. Nelson was arrested today in Richmond, Virginia, and will be presented there in federal court tomorrow.

According to the allegations in the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

At the time of the robbery, Nelson worked as an armored car courier for Dunbar Armored. In the summer of 2008, Nelson, Bailey, Philippe, and McDougald, along with Nicole Jennings and another individual, both of whom previously pled guilty for their roles in the scheme, planned and practiced executing a robbery during which one of the defendants would rob Nelson as she delivered money from Dunbar Armored to M&T Bank on September 30, 2008. On the morning of the robbery, Bailey, Philippe, McDougald, Jennings, and the other defendant drove to the vicinity of the M&T Bank branch located at 397 First Avenue in Manhattan. The other defendant entered the vestibule of the bank to prepare to rob Nelson while Bailey served as a lookout several blocks away on Nelson’s route, alerting him when Nelson’s car passed by. When Nelson arrived and prepared to enter the bank with a bag containing $330,000 in cash, the defendant in the vestibule approached her from behind, grabbed the bag containing the money and the gun she carried as part of her job, and pushed her to the side. The defendant then left the bank and met McDougald nearby, handing her the bag containing the money. Wadner drove the getaway car and ultimately picked up all of the participants in the robbery, except Nelson, and drove them to a motel in New Jersey, where they divided the proceeds. Nelson was then interviewed by authorities as a purported victim of the robbery.

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Nelson, 26; Bailey, 27; Philippe, 29; and McDougald, 30, all New Jersey residents, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank larceny, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; and one count of bank larceny while putting in jeopardy the life of a person by the use of a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Bailey, Philippe, and McDougald are also charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Nicole Jennings, 26, of Newark, New Jersey, pled guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods in June 2011 and was sentenced in October 2011 to two years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney

Russell Capone is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.