General Crime

* Jeremy Morton Pleads Guilty to Six Bank Robberies in East Bay or Stockton

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A 22-year-old Stockton man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland to carrying out six bank robberies in the East Bay and Stockton in February and March. Jeremy Morton entered the plea at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Monday. Morton will be sentenced by Wilken on Feb. 4 for the six counts of bank robbery. Each count carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Morton admitted taking a total of $25,911 from the six banks.

The amounts lost by each bank ranged from $800 to $9,037. The sites robbed were a Bank of the West branch in Concord on Feb. 16; two Bank of the West outlets in Stockton on Feb. 24 and March 6; a Bank of the West branch in Oakland on March 12; a Citibank in San Leandro on March 24; and a Chase Bank branch in Livermore on March 26. An affidavit filed in the case in April by FBI Special Agent Matthew Ernst said Morton was identified after the FBI circulated bank surveillance photos from the Concord heist among local law enforcement agencies.

Two state parole agents recognized Morton as a person who was on parole from a previous bank robbery conviction in Stockton, Ernst said in the affidavit. Morton had a distinctive tattoo with cursive writing on the side of his neck, the agent said. Ernst wrote that in the Concord robbery, a teller reported that a man with a tattoo on his neck approached her and said in a low, deep voice, “I want $5,000.” The man also placed a piece of paper on the counter containing the numbers $5,000 and said, “Hurry up.” The teller was afraid for her safety and gave the man the $2,054 in her teller drawer. The robber was seen shortly afterwards getting into a car parked along the shoulder of Interstate Highway 680 nearby, according to the affidavit.

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