Second bank robber also gets 80 months

A second bandit who stole approximately $4,000 from the Union Bank in Ramona in 2007 was sentenced April 20 to six years and eight months in federal prison, the same term handed down to the first robber sentenced last month.

Melanie Elizabeth DePalmer, 27, was given the 80-month term by U.S. District Court Judge James Lorenz, who also ordered her to pay $29,017 to all the banks she helped rob with Michael Daniel Martin.

Martin, a 28-year-old plumber, was sentenced March 23 by Lorenz.

DePalmer’s attorney, Knut Johnson, asked for the 80-month sentence the judge handed down, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Casper sought a 120-month term for DePalmer, saying she had a greater criminal record than Martin. Casper said DePalmer has been convicted of possession of narcotics and other drug related offenses.

Casper said Martin and DePalmer both used methamphetamine and their habit motivated them to rob banks. Lorenz ordered DePalmer to pay a $800 penalty fee assessment.

The Union bank, located at 1512 Main Street, was robbed on Oct. 4, 2007. The other banks, located in Encinitas, San Marcos, San Diego, La Mesa, 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.

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

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

 The couple were arrested after Martin checked himself into a hospital for treatment of methamphetamine abuse and he admitted the bank robberies. The couple agreed to pay restitution and to forfeit a Ford automobile they bought with the stolen money.

   
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