Articles Posted in Robbery

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

Christmas came early for burglars in Charlotte. Two suspects stole Christmas gifts and cash in a recent armed home invasion in the city. The crime highlights the importance of taking security measures to protect your home ahead of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

An arrest for robbery entails serious felony charges in North Carolina. Those arrested for robbery risk losing their freedom and getting a criminal record with permanent negative consequences for their career, reputation, and quality of life.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

Criminal law is complex. There are many crimes that can be committed under the same “type” of offense and there are different levels of severity for each crime. In North Carolina, there are many different crimes that can be committed to/on property. The following are the most common types of property crime in North Carolina.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

A busted pair of bank robbers in Brazil had resorted to an interesting method of disguise for their attempted heist: the duo covered themselves head to toe in aluminum foil for their early-morning raid.

Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”


The case of a North Carolina bank robber is set to get national attention over the coming months after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter. The case involved Larry Whitfield, a 26-year-old who is currently in prison and not scheduled to be released until 2022.


Supreme Court Pillar Charlotte Robbery Defense Lawyer North Carolina Criminal AttorneyThe issue in the case concerns something that judges have long argued about and for which a clear rule still does not exist. Though everyone understands that bank robbery is a crime, many may not realize that anyone robbing a bank that is found to have forcibly moved another person, either during the crime or while fleeing, faces even stiffer penalties.


Standard bank robberies involve a possible punishment of up to 20 years, though there is no mandatory minimum, meaning that judges are empowered to reduce the sentences of those they feel are deserving. However, anyone who has been found to violate the forced-movement law faces an additional 10-year mandatory sentence and possibly even life behind bars.


The question that the Supreme Court must now wrestle with is how much movement is necessary to prompt a violation of the forced-movement law. In this case, Whitfield and a partner armed themselves with weapons and intended to rob a credit union in Gastonia, NC. A tough security system prompted them to flee the scene, ultimately seeking refuge in the home of a nearby woman.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “The person that called the police doesn’t want to press charges.”


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers say that in all their years investigating area crimes they have never encountered a bathroom holdup. This week marks a first for the department as it was revealed an older man was robbed at gunpoint in the bathroom of a Charlotte area Bojangles this past week.


Urinal Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe crime took place Sunday evening, a little after 7:30 p.m., at the Bojangles in The Plaza. Police say that as an older man was preparing to order his dinner, two young men in hoodies stepped into the restaurant and were first spotted on a store security camera. While the older gentleman’s food was being prepared, he excused himself to the restroom. What happened next surprised not only him, but police as well.


According to reports, as soon as the man entered the bathroom with his back to the door, the two young men in hoodies followed closely behind. They then stuck a gun to the man’s back and threatened to kill him if he resisted. The criminals then ordered the man to empty his pockets. Within a minute they had secured the man’s wallet, cash and cellphone and were just as quickly out of the restaurant and away in a nearby car.


Police say that the encounter shocked the victim who says he never saw it coming. After he was robbed he went to tell restaurant employees who were similarly stunned and say that they had no idea a robbery was taking place only a few feet away from the cash registers.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”


Police say that a man with a thick Boston accent robbed a bank in Lincolnton, North Carolina this week before fleeing the scene of the robbery in a stolen car. Authorities say that the bank, the Peoples Bank, was knocked over just after they opened for the morning, at around 9:15 a.m.


Security Camera Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe robbery took place at a location on Highway 27 West, where they say a white male wearing a t-shirt, hoodie, shorts and tennis shoes walked in and demanded money. According to witnesses, the man walked directly up to a teller and handed the man a note, asking for cash. The man also told the teller to be sure that none of the money contained dye packs, something used by banks to help officers trace and collect stolen money.


In the note, as well as in person, the robber is said to have threatened to shoot the teller if he did not comply. Police say that no weapon was ever displayed and that the teller filled up a bag with an undisclosed amount of money before the man turned and ran.


Police say thanks to quality security camera footage they were able to identify the suspect as 49-year-old Jean Pierre Gendron. The man has several noticeable tattoos, is bald, skinny and does indeed have a thick Boston accent. Lincolnton police investigators say Gendron has an extensive criminal history and is believed to be armed and dangerous.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “A past conviction is keeping me from finding work what can I do?”


A terrible recent story out of North Carolina seems to support the idea that no good deed goes unpunished. According to news reports, 20-year-old Lewis James Little, a sophomore at North Carolina Central University, spent nearly a month behind bars after reporting a crime to local police officers who wrongly concluded that he was involved in the matter.


handcuffs silver Charlotte DWI Attorney North Carolina Criminal Defense LawyerThe debacle began last summer when Little and a group of his friends from NCCU were getting together at another person’s home for an evening of hanging out. As they were walking into the house, Little and his friends spotted the body of a 25-year-old in the middle of the street.


Little says he and his friends were alarmed and while many wanted to call the cops, they were afraid at involving themselves in the matter. Little decided he needed to do the right thing and report the dead body, so he called the local police department.


Things started to go bad quickly after officers arrived on the scene when Little says he found himself facing intense questioning and was soon in handcuffs. Police say they thought he played a role in the break-in at a nearby home and that the robbery may have had something to do with the subsequent murder that left 25-year-old Michael Lee dead.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “The person that called the police doesn’t want to press charges.”

Train robbery sounds like the kind of crime that went the way of the steam engine. Though times have changed and robberies are no longer being perpetrated on horseback, train robberies still take place and are taken quite seriously by law enforcement officials in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Train Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Attorney.jpgKeeping with the theme, it was announced this week that three men from Rowan County, NC pled guilty to a train robbery that occurred back in 2012 in Salisbury. The statement from the U.S. Attorney said that 25-year-old Altise Bridges, 20-year-old William Johnson, Jr., and 19-year-old Kenyad Kelly, all pled guilty to accessory after the fact to train robbery.

According to authorities, the incident began last April when two masked me carrying guns climbed aboard a Norfolk Southern train that was heading from Columbia, SC to Asheville, NC. The men boarded the train while it was stopped at a station in Salisbury for a required crew change. When the robbers entered the engine car of the train one of them brandished a shotgun while a second man waived a revolver.

Court documents say that the robbers then demanded money from the engineer of the train as well as the train’s conductor, taking cash and a wallet before fleeing the train. Investigators assigned to the case later determined that Bridges and Johnson had engaged in the robbery while Kelly was brought along to destroy and hide evidence, apparently unsuccessfully.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

In a bizarre criminal law case out of Salisbury, North Carolina, police say one would-be bank robber made a series of mistakes that led to her being quickly apprehended. The woman, Tara Jean Vaughn, started off on the wrong foot by robbing the Wood Forest Bank branch inside a Wal-Mart where she has an account, meaning the workers were already familiar with Ms. Vaughn.

Cash in envelope Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgAccording to a police report, Vaughn arrived at the bank around 8:30 in the morning on Monday, but discovered the branch was not yet open. She then left the store and returned at around 5 p.m. Vaughn then approached a teller and asked him about getting a pack of starter checks. Vaughn then gave the teller her name and mentioned that she had an existing account with the bank.

After divulging such crucial identifying information, Vaughn then curiously chose to rob the branch, telling the bank employee that she had a gun and wanted his money. Vaughn was at least polite during the robbery, apologizing and explaining that she didn’t want to shoot the man. Vaughn then placed her purse on the counter and instructed the teller to fill the bag up with money from the cash drawer. The teller did place some money inside the purse, though police have not yet revealed how much Vaughn was able to get away with.

Police say that Vaughn then fled the store, but was arrested only a few hours later. She is now charged with armed robbery, despite never actually brandishing the weapon, and is being held on a $50,000 bond.

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