Man who held up McAllen bank with BB gun gets 18 years in prison

The federal courthouse at Bentsen Tower, located on Bicentennial Boulevard in McAllen, is seen in this August 2018 file photo. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

McALLEN — A Nebraska man who held up a McAllen bank last April using a BB gun was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison earlier this week, according to court records.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Kenneth Shante Jones to a 220-month prison term, followed by a five-year supervised release term, the notes show.

READ THE COMPLAINT

The 38-year-old man was arrested last April after local police tracked him down to a south McAllen hotel room shortly after he allegedly made off with more than $10,000 in cash as a result of a bank robbery.

On April 17, 2018, Jones is alleged to have held up multiple tellers at a bank in the 3300 block of North 10th Street in McAllen, according to the complaint filed against him. He’s accused of using what was later determined to be a BB gun in the robbery.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas, Jones entered the Greater State Bank and proclaimed, among other things, that the holdup was “not a joke,” and to “put the money on the counter. If you don’t do it, I’m going to shoot you!” Fearful for their lives, employees handed over approximately $10,000 in U.S. currency and several marked bills. Jones then fled the scene.

Using surveillance video, local law enforcement determined Jones made his escape from the scene of the incident after he hailed a taxi away from the area where he had allegedly abandoned a vehicle he stole.

Authorities called the taxi company and were able to determine Jones was dropped off at a hotel in south McAllen, the complaint stated.

“Employees of the hotel were able to identify the suspect as (Jones),” the complaint further stated.

Once Jones’ room and location were determined, authorities waited for him to exit his room before placing him in custody, with authorities finding the clothes Jones was wearing and cash “exceeding” $10,000 in addition to several marked bills, the complaint stated.

Authorities were able to track Jones back to his hotel and arrested him the same day. A subsequent search of the hotel recovered the money stolen from the bank.

Jones has been in custody since his arrest and will remain there pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

In February of this year, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery by force or violence, court records show.

The McAllen Police Department and FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Guerra Jr. is prosecuting the case, the release stated.