DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Robert J. Higdon, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Connelly

Edenton Man Sentenced for Armed Bank Robbery

NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that, MICHAEL RANKINS, 55, of Edenton, was sentenced by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan for armed bank robbery and aiding and abetting. Judge Flanagan sentenced RANKINS to 135 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.
RANKINS was charged in a one-count indictment on March 18, 2014, along with his co-defendant William Chadwick Twine. Twine pled guilty on July 9, 2014, and was sentenced on July 10, 2015, to 90 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. RANKINS pled guilty on February 8, 2018.
On January 9, 2014, RANKINS and Twine entered a Wells Fargo Bank in Windsor, North Carolina. As he entered the bank, RANKINS pulled a toboggan over his face with eye holes cut out. He pointed a BB gun at the teller, and he and Twine threatened the teller and demanded money. The teller provided them with $10,465, and the two men ran from the bank to their nearby get-away car. Witnesses relayed to law enforcement the direction the suspects had driven, and officers were soon able to catch up to the suspect’s vehicle and attempt a traffic stop. RANKINS and Twine, however, continued to flee at a high speed, eventually losing control of the car and running off the road and into a field. Both men ran from the stopped car and were quickly apprehended. Officers recovered the stolen money, mask, and BB gun from the car.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Windsor Police Department, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh represented the government in this case.
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Charlotte Field Division