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Back-seat bank robber given 18 months in jail

September 26, 2000

Back-seat bank robber given 18 months in jail



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


The woman who attempted to rob a Home Federal Savings Bank branch from the back seat of a cab last February appeared stunned Monday when she was sentenced to serve 18 months in the Washington County Detention Center.

Hollie Jean Scroggins could have faced a 10-year prison term had Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley not suspended all but the local sentence for the attempted robbery and an additional three-year sentence for felony theft.

Crying softly, Scroggins, 19, of Hagerstown, apologized to the two Home Federal employees who attended Monday's sentencing.

"I was stressed and didn't handle it very well," Scroggins said. "My son was sick and I had no money."

Around noon Feb. 23, a woman riding in the back of a taxi with a friend and two small children passed a note through the back window of a cab at the drive-up window of the bank at 1700 Dual Highway, demanding money, Hagerstown City Police said.

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The note said "Give me $3,000 or else," court records said.

When the teller showed the note to her supervisor and asked the woman for identification, the woman told the unwitting cab driver to leave as she hid her face from bank personnel, according to court records.

Bank personnel called police, who intercepted the cab on Mount Aetna Road after it had picked up another fare at the Comfort Inn.

For that incident, Scroggins pleaded guilty to attempted robbery on July 14. She also admitted to one count of felony theft in a November 1999 incident at the Home Federal Bank in Sharpsburg in which she leaned over a counter and took a bundle of money containing $1,000.

"Desperate people do desperate things," defense attorney John Chillas said. He asked Beachley to impose only time served, which totaled 72 days in jail.

Beachley echoed the sentiments of Home Federal Branch Manager Kelly Lawrence, who said Monday she wants people to be responsible for their actions.

"These were serious events," Beachley said, noting that no weapon was used. "But you knew what you were doing was wrong."

Beachley authorized work release so Scroggins can begin paying $100 a month toward her $1,100 restitution. Probation was set for four years.

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