Local News

Men sentenced in bank, jewelry store robberies

Posted June 9, 2009 11:11 a.m. EDT

— A federal judge sentenced two Fayetteville men last Thursday for the armed robberies of a bank and jewelry store in 2008.

District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Larry Lavonne Berry, 44, to more than 25 years in prison and Darren Eugene Wallace, 43, to more than 14 years in prison. They were each ordered to pay $333,572.73 in restitution.

Berry pleaded guilty to bank robbery with a dangerous weapon, use and carrying a firearm during armed bank robbery, Hobbs Act robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wallace pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and Hobbs Act robbery.

Investigators said that Berry and Wallace wore masks and carried guns to steal $12,991 from the Lumbee Guaranty Bank, at 6313 Raeford Road, on March 6. The money bag had a dye pack, which exploded. Berry asked Wallace Davis, the owner of Xtreme Creations, to try to clean the dye off the money. Davis was unsuccessful.

An anonymous tip led police to Xtreme Creations, where they found Berry's car parked, authorities said. They also found the getaway vehicle, which also belonged to Berry.

"I want to commend the anonymous tipster and investigator for their work in this matter," U.S. Attorney George Holding said. "Bank robbery poses a real risk to the public as serious dangers are introduced into our everyday lives by this type of crime."

Davis was charged as an accessory after the fact and sentenced to a year and a day in prison, Holding said.

On April 2, Wallace posed as a customer at the Gold Factory in Fayetteville, authorities said. While they talked, Berry came up from behind and put a gun to the owners' head. They forced the owner and his wife into the store's office and tied them up. Berry went back into the showroom, smashed display cases and picked up jewelry. When Wallace walked to the front of the store, the owner activated the silent alarm.

Berry and Wallace got away with approximately $313,411 in merchandise and caused $109 in damage, authorities said.