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Man who threatened to kill four UNC students pleads guilty

Posted December 5, 2011
Updated December 6, 2011

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— A man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to trying to extort a Chapel Hill bank and threatening to kill four college students if he didn't get the money.

Reid Benjamin Kelley, 22, pleaded guilty to a charge of interference with commerce by threats and violence, in connection with the Aug. 26 crime. His sentencing is scheduled for April 18, when a federal judge could sentence him to up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities arrested Kelley on Aug. 27, a day after a BB&T employee found a typewritten note demanding that $300,000 be left behind a trash bin at the Foxcroft Apartments in Chapel Hill. The note also said four University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students would be killed if he did not receive the cash.

Man pleads guilty in extortion plot Man pleads guilty in extortion plot

Investigators identified Kelley through the bank's security video, set up surveillance on him and arrested him after he picked up a bag that FBI agents left for him behind the trash bin, according to court documents.

At Kelley's home, investigators found the clothes he was wearing in the bank video, multiple weapons, including an M-4-type rifle, ammunition, body armor and ceramic plates for body armor.

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  • geosol Dec 5, 2011

    anneonymouseone wrote: "It's interesting to me that no one is writing here about him being a product of bad parenting, people who think themselves entitled to endlessly nurse off the social services teat, or fanatics with an axe to grind. Could it be because he's white?"
    BINGO!!! You should read what the right wing bigots are writing on a similar story centered in Durham.

  • FWAAAAAAAAA Dec 5, 2011

    @shine-on

    "Take him out back ......... then the next one will know not to dwell on such a crime."

    Ah yes, the Stalin method. Great idea. Due process is totally overrated!

  • beachboater Dec 5, 2011

    "the video id is the only "evidence" that was found. Clothing, circumstantial. The weapons and body armor, is legal to own and does not make him guilty." Iworkforaliving

    I guess him picking up a bag from the "drop point" didn't make him guilty either did it?

  • beachboater Dec 5, 2011

    "If they'd found Obama posters and food stamps, would they have mentioned that?" bgroberts27

    GREAT comment bg!! haha

  • Shine -On Dec 5, 2011

    Aug.27 crime....... April sentenance. Botched from jump start - Everyone go look in the mirror and ask "Who is paying for this?" Certainly not him

    He did it - we know and he has confessed. Take him out back ......... then the next one will know not to dwell on such a crime.

    My feelings---- I am sorry for his whatever, but if we don't start handling this like a third world country --- well heck look where Greenville which the gang call (Ghetto-Vegas) or Rocky Mount where you can't even go to the mall in the middle of the day w/o the possibility of being robbed in the parking lot....

    I say BAM! and to heck with feeding junk like this.

  • anneonymousone Dec 5, 2011

    It's interesting to me that no one is writing here about him being a product of bad parenting, people who think themselves entitled to endlessly nurse off the social services teat, or fanatics with an axe to grind. Could it be because he's white?

    Why is it that so many people see white, male (alleged) criminals are viewed as individuals, and only representing themselves?(Alleged) criminals who are female, men of color and/or Muslims are often seen as (allegedly) committing their actions on behalf of their sex or their cultural and/or religious group.

    Let's try to think beyond that foolishness, please.

  • readme Dec 5, 2011

    I'd rate this one step below actual armed robbery, but I am guessing he will get more time in jail than if he had actually walked into BB&T with that AR-15. He definitely will get more jail time than if he had killed everyone in the bank, becuase then he could claim insanity.

  • deansquishman2 Dec 5, 2011

    Anybody else think that 300K is an odd amount of money?---That's 75 K per student---why not ask for a million?

  • nctorwart Dec 5, 2011

    Smart as a bag of hammers.

  • vter53 Dec 5, 2011

    What should be done is send him somewhere that he could use the body armor that they found and bring one of our soldiers home to his family.

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