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‘Beltway Bank Bandit’ sentenced 21 years for robbing Alexandria banks and area businesses

A 35-year-old Washington, D.C. man was sentenced to 21 years behind bars on Tuesday for a Northern Virginia crime spree at a number Alexandria banks and area businesses in 2018 and 2019.

Freddie Lee McRae robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch on Nov. 13, 2018, and reportedly told the teller in a note that he had a gun and would “kill all the bankers” in the bank unless they paid up. He pointed a gun at the teller and then fled the scene with $8,750.

Less than a month later, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert bank branch in the city and pointed a gun at the teller. He then racked the slide, demanded large bills and fled with $1,366. He also robbed a BB&T branch in the city A week later, and later admitted to robbing a Bank of America in Springfield in October 2018, a Capital One in Bowie, Maryland, in Jan. 2019 and a Capitol One in Arlington on Feb. 11, 2019.

On April 21, 2019, McRae stole $2,160 from the Legend Kicks & Apparel store in Arlington. He pointed a gun at employees and told them to empty their pockets and lie on the ground. Police ended up chasing him on the George Washington Parkway, and he ended up jumping out of his car before it crashed into the Potomac River. He then tried to escape by jumping in the river.

“This case involved a chilling armed robbery spree during which innocent community members were threatened with serious injury or death if they did not comply with repeated demands for money,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are thankful to our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigation across multiple jurisdictions to bring the defendant to justice, including apprehending him after he jumped out of a moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River.”

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