Lookout in Armed Bank Robbery Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison

Oakland, California - Kevin Tyrone Buford was sentenced today to 90 months in prison for planning and participating in the March 1, 2013 takeover style armed bank robbery of the Mechanics Bank on Pinole Valley Road, in Pinole, California, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

Buford pleaded guilty on Jan. 22, 2014, without entering into a plea agreement with the government. During the plea hearing, Buford admitted that on March 1, 2013, he served as the lookout during the robbery, communicating by cell phone with the gunman, Gary Casdell Fite II, and the getaway driver, Regina Dean, who stole more than $3,000 from the bank. Buford also admitted that he cased the bank on Feb. 26, 2013, three days before the robbery.

Buford, 27, of Vallejo, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 29, 2013, for aiding and abetting armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d). Buford was not arrested immediately following the robbery. He was identified and charged after additional investigation by the FBI, including a tip by alert bank employees who remembered a man entering the bank and behaving suspiciously just days before the robbery. The FBI obtained Buford’s cell phone records, which placed him within the vicinity of the bank during the robbery and casing, and revealed frequent communications between the three-person robbery crew leading up to the bank robbery. Buford’s casing of the bank was also captured by video surveillance.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton, United States District Court Judge. Judge Hamilton also sentenced Buford to a five-year period of supervised release. Gunman Fite was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Sept. 4, 2013. Getaway driver Dean was sentenced to five years in prison on Aug. 21, 2013.

Brian C. Lewis is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Janice Pagsanjan. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

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