By Thadd White
RALEIGH – A crime that lasted minutes will result in years behind bars.
On July 10, William Twine and Michael Rankins were sentenced in the 2014 robbery of Wells Fargo in Windsor. The sentencing occurred before U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle in Raleigh.
The robbery occurred when the two suspects entered the bank on King Street on June 9, 2014. One of the suspects produced a gun while the other shouted demands for money.
Two employees at the bank were able to call 911 after slipping out of the rear entrance of the bank and making it safely to Lawrence Memorial Public Library, located nearby.
Windsor Police officers arrived on the scene almost immediately and witnesses advised them the suspects fled north on King Street.
Thanks to the cooperative work of the Windsor Police Department, Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol, Bertie County Communications Center and the Office of Probation and Parole, the suspects were caught shortly after the robbery.
Both men are from Edenton and were taken into custody after leading officers on a high-speed chase and a foot pursuit.
Rankins, who was 50 at the time of the incident, pled guilty to Armed Bank Robbery and was sentenced to 150 months, or more than 12 years in prison. Rankins will also receive five years of supervised probation upon his release.
He has since entered an appeal in the process.
Twine, meanwhile, pled guilty to Armed Bank Robbery – Aiding and Abetting and was sentenced to 90 months, or just over seven years. He will likewise receive five years supervised probation upon his release.
Both men were remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal.
“These arrests were made possible by the extraordinary involvement of the citizens of Windsor,” Windsor Police Chief Todd Lane said. “Within minutes of the bank robbery occurring, we were receiving telephone calls from eyewitnesses informing us of the description and direction of travel of the robbers.
“Without the help of these citizens, the quick apprehension would not have been possible,” he added.
(This story is reprinted with the permission of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor.)