Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for role in Virginia Beach bank robbery

NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for his role in an armed bank robbery last year. 

Austin Lee Howard

Court documents say 35-year-old Austin Lee Howard conspired with 41-year-old Marquis Larosa Buckley to rob a PNC Bank in Virginia Beach. Surveillance video caught Howard entering the bank the day before the robbery to become familiar with the layout, where the tellers and offices were located and whether the bank had any security cameras and personnel.

Around October 13, 2017, Buckley, wearing a disguise, entered the bank and pulled out a gun while demanding money from the tellers. Records say he then dropped what looked like an explosive devise on the floor; it was later determined to be a hoax bomb.

In order to speed up the tellers, Buckley fired the gun inside the bank. The tellers then handed over approximately $8,000.

During the robbery, one of the tellers put an electronic tracking device in the money given over to Buckley before the suspect fled the scene and got into the getaway car driven by Howard. This is how Virginia Beach Police were able to track the suspects’ movements via GPS.

Police eventually located the getaway car and recovered the money with the GPS device, the pistol used during the robbery and the disguise Buckley wore.

Buckley pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery on July 3 and is scheduled for sentencing on October 3.

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