A career bank robber, whose most recent robbery spree included a bank in Glasgow, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Jan. 21 after pleading guilty in federal court.
Duane Burton, 44, first targeted the WSFS Bank located inside a Safeway grocery store in Peoples Plaza on Dec. 26, 2018, according to court documents.
“This is a robbery. Give me all the money. No dye packs or GPS money,” Burton told the teller, who complied and gave him $3,693 in cash.
In February 2019, Burton hit two more banks, one in Baltimore and one in Elkridge, Md. Between the three robberies, he stole a total of $7,300, officials said.
Two weeks after the final robbery, police raided Burton’s home and located the same New Balance sneakers he wore during the robberies. After he was arrested, Burton admitted to the three robberies.
Burton is no stranger to robbing banks, according to court records.
In 1997, he robbed five banks, made bomb threats and stole an FBI agent’s car to use as his getaway vehicle. He was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
While on supervised release, he robbed 15 more banks in 2008 and 2009, in one case threatening to shoot a teller. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and was let out on supervised released again in 2017.
U.S. Attorney Robert Hur told a judge that because Burton’s past sentences did not deter him from continuing to rob banks, “the need to protect society from this defendant is particularly important.”
“His prior convictions paint the picture of a person who poses a danger to the community and has trouble living a law-abiding life for very long at all,” Hur wrote in his sentencing recommendation. “Indeed, there is no evidence that the defendant will ever be deterred from engaging in criminal conduct. A significant sentence is therefore necessary to ensure that the defendant does not simply return to the same criminal activity, as he did following every other encounter he had with the criminal justice system before this one.”
In a handwritten letter to the judge, Burton said he suffers from addiction and a “significantly reduced mental capacity.” He complained that the pre-trial detention center in Philadelphia where he is being held is on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, which he falsely referred to as a “bioweapon outbreak attack.” He added that his daughter was traumatized by witnessing his arrest and asked for a lesser sentence so he can try to make things right with his children and the community.
“Please don’t make your decision on my past history,” Burton wrote.
U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett followed the prosecution’s recommendation and sentenced Burton to 14 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.