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Man sentenced for bank robbery

May 27, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A man with a history of drug-driven bank robberies was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for his latest heist, a holdup at a Dual Highway bank last November.

Ronald Lee Schroyer, 39, could face more prison time because of probation and parole violations related to the Nov. 7 robbery at Home Federal Savings Bank at 1700 Dual Highway.

"I'm not a violent man, I'm just an addict," Schroyer told Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley. "Robbing the bank was the easiest way to get money."

According to court records, Schroyer entered the bank at 9:50 a.m. and handed a note to one of the tellers.

"You've got 30 seconds to give me $1,200 or I'll start shooting," the note said.

The teller counted out $1,200, Schroyer grabbed the money and the note and left the bank. His photo, shown on a local television station, generated telephone calls that led police to consider Schroyer a suspect.

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On Nov. 17, he was located in Knoxville, Tenn., and was returned to Washington County.

Because of the risk of flight and a lengthy criminal record, bond was withheld and Schroyer remained in custody until Thursday's hearing.

He pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. In exchange for the plea, charges of robbery, theft and assault were dropped.

In 1990, Schroyer was sentenced for armed robberies of banks in Hagerstown, State Line, Pa., and Frederick, Md., according to court records.

He received a 15-year sentence in 1991 for the robbery of a Martin's supermarket.

"Ronnie got out of prison on Jan. 2, 1998, and this happened on Nov. 7, 1998," said defense attorney William Knight. "This was because of a crack-cocaine addiction."

Schroyer said his addiction to crack cocaine has ruled his life for years.

"I had a lot of friends when I had drugs," Schroyer said. "But they were probably the ones who called the TV station on me."

Schroyer said he knew his father made one of the calls but he said he also knew his father's motive was to do what was right for him.

Beachley noted that this was Schroyer's fourth bank robbery, in addition to the robbery of the Martin's store.

"This was a very frightening incident for the bank employees," Beachley said. "They didn't know if you had a weapon."

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