HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Three men were sentenced for their roles in bank robberies committed in rural parts of Texas over four years ago, officials announced on Thursday.
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The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said 46-year-old Tony Wayne Mitchell and 33-year-old Kevin McCoy - both from Houston - and 41-year-old Mikell Phillips, from Dallas, pleaded guilty last year to the robberies.
The men allegedly admitted to conspiracy to commit bank robbery by force or violence, with Mitchell admitting to brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Mitchell was handed a 60-month term of imprisonment and 84 months for the firearms conviction, which must be served consecutively with the other sentence. His total 144-month prison term is set to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.
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McCoy received 48 months and Phillips 54 months for the robbery conspiracy. The two will be on supervised release for three years.
Officials said Mitchell, McCoy, and Phillips were members of a four-person armed robbery crew who targeted bank branches in small rural towns surrounding Houston.
Between 2018 and 2019, the crew is said to have robbed two banks in Brazoria and Wharton counties.
During each crime, two or three men would enter the banks with firearms while wearing masks and hoodies. One man would vault the teller counter while the others gathered the cash and put employees in offices, supply closets, or the bank vault. They would all then exit the banks on foot.
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"While one of them held a gun, four men robbed banks in small, rural towns and terrorized the employees," U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani said.
Authorities said a Crime Stoppers tip and prescription eyeglasses led them to the men, although they did not provide more details.
Phillips was allegedly involved in only one robbery and was the only person who did not enter the bank during the heist. However, he tried to dispose of money from the Wharton bank robbery.
The fourth crew member reportedly died in a car crash while trying to flee from law enforcement.
Mitchell, McCoy, and Phillips remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.