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Man gets 5 years for bank robbery

December 13, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A Hagerstown man pleaded guilty Monday to robbing the American Trust Bank and was given a five-year prison sentence.

David Brian Smith, 38, was captured on videotape robbing the American Trust Bank on North Potomac Street in August.

According to court records, Smith walked up to the bank's drive-through window and handed the teller a note saying: "I want all your money or I will shoot you."

He turned himself into Hagerstown City Police four days later.

In exchange for his guilty plea, lesser charges were dropped.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell gave Smith a 15-year sentence with all but five years suspended and placed him on five years probation.

Smith must serve at least half of his sentence before he will be considered for parole.

"This is a recognition that, indeed, this is a crime of violence," McDowell said.

Smith got $4,205 in the robbery.

About a dozen people called police with information about Smith's whereabouts after his photograph was circulated in the local media.

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Family members gave police the number of a pay phone Smith used to call them. Police called the number, talked to Smith, and then arrested him.

He was wearing the same clothes he had on during the bank robbery four days earlier.

Defense attorney Eric Reed said Smith suffers from bipolar disorder and drug abuse.

"He doesn't even have a clear recollection of what occurred during that four-day period," Reed said. "His guess is he was on a heroin binge at the time."

Smith spoke briefly in the courtroom on Monday.

"I just want to say I'd like to get in rehab," he said.

In addition to the robbery sentence, Smith will serve an additional 18 months for violating his probation. He had been on probation for writing bad checks to Hagerstown Trust two years ago, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Bill Hayden said.

Smith failed to pay back the money he owed and also used drugs, Hayden said.

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