07/10/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 15:40
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Tyrone D. Pierce, age 60, of Ocean City, Maryland today to eight years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, specifically, a bank robbery.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Ross C. Buzzuro of the Ocean City Police Department; and Interim Worcester County State's Attorney William H. 'Bill' McDermott.
According to his plea agreement, on August 24, 2016, Pierce, who was then employed at a motel in Ocean City, Maryland, robbed a bank in the 12000 block of Coastal Highway, in Ocean City. Specifically, Pierce parked a vehicle in a commercial parking lot near the bank. Pierce, who was clearly wearing a fake beard, was seen by motorists and pedestrians as he walked a circuitous route to the entrance of the bank. After entering the bank, Pierce pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at one of the tellers, threatening to shoot the teller if she did not comply with Pierce's demands for money. Pierce also said there was a bomb near the drive-thru window, although no device was found. Pierce took cash and left the bank, inadvertently leaving a glove on the teller counter that he removed during the robbery.
Crime scene investigators recovered the glove and were able to obtain a DNA specimen. In January 2017, DNA analysis of the specimen was matched to Pierce, who has a 1999 conviction for bank robbery in Salisbury, Maryland, and had previously submitted a DNA sample.
As part of Pierce's sentence, Judge Blake ordered that Pierce pay restitution of $9,169.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department's renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney's Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the FBI, the Ocean City Police Department, and the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.