Former EC man pleads guilty to robbing bank

February 12, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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PITTSBURGH — A former Butler County man will be sentenced in federal court later this year in the 2018 robbery of a Zelienople bank.

Chad Vaughan, 33, formerly of Evans City, pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to a bank robbery charge before U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced July 7.

Authorities said that in his plea Vaughan admitted he robbed the NexTier Bank on South Main Street in Zelienople on Oct. 23, 2018, making off with $2,065.00.

Dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask and gloves, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendant demanded “big bills” from the bank tellers, who complied.

He placed the money into a shopping bag and ran out of the bank. A witness reported seeing the suspect get into a Ford sedan, which police later found.

A search of the vehicle, according to the investigation, turned up the same black clothing, ski mask and gloves worn by Vaughan when he robbed the bank.

He was eventually caught, and a federal grand jury indicted him on one charge of bank robbery March 5, 2019.

He admitted that before he robbed the bank, authorities said, he used his cell phone to search the internet for “what is the jail time for a bank robbery?” and “how easy is it to rob a bank?”

A few days after the bank robbery, Vaughan also acknowledged, he searched for and viewed an article on a local news website about the NexTier Bank robbery.

Prosecutors said the law provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. But the actual sentence, in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines, would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Vaughan remains in prison pending sentencing.

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