Bank robber gets 80-month prison term

One of two bandits who stole approximately $4,000 from the Union Bank of California in Ramona in 2007 was sentenced March 23 to six years and eight months in federal prison.

Michael Daniel Martin, 28, a plumber, was ordered to pay the Ramona bank back, and also ordered to pay $33,578 to nine other banks he robbed.

The other bandit, Melanie Elizabeth DePalmer, 27, who also participated in the Ramona bank robbery, will be sentenced this month.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Casper sought a 97-month term for Martin from U.S. District Court Judge James Lorenz. Casper said Martin and DePalmer used methamphetamine and their habit motivated them to rob banks.

The Union bank at 1512 Main St. was robbed on Oct. 4, 2007. The other banks were located in Encinitas, San Marcos, San Diego and La Mesa and also were held up in October 2007. Four other banks were in Northern California and one in central California.

Casper said the robbers made threats to tellers, and claimed they had a gun, though no gun was displayed. The couple also told a few tellers they would press a button, implying they had a bomb, though none was ever seen.

While no one was injured in any of the hold-ups, the robberies did scare tellers, and one worker quit and said she would not work at a bank again, Casper said. Another teller took a two-week leave of absence with counseling, he added.

Martin pleaded guilty to robbing 10 banks, including the one in Ramona. DePalmer admitted the Ramona heist and to robbing six other banks with Martin, according to court records.

The couple were arrested after Martin checked himself into a hospital for treatment of methamphetamine abuse and he told of the bank robberies.

The couple have agreed to pay restitution and to forfeit a Ford automobile they bought with the loot. DePalmer remains behind bars in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego.

   
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