Man who swiped debit card during bank robbery sentenced to 4 years

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Jail Cells

SAN DIEGO — A man who was tracked down after he swiped his debit card at a Marina-area bank branch before robbing it was sentenced Tuesday to nearly four years in prison.

In addition to handing down the 46-month custody term to 56-year-old Alvin Lee Neal, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia ordered him to pay $565 in restitution — the amount the defendant stole from the Wells Fargo branch in the 600 block of First Avenue May 13.

Neal entered the bank about 10:30 a.m. on May 13 dressed in a black-and- white-checkered coat, walked to a teller’s desk and swiped his Wells Fargo debit card through a customer card reader, causing his account profile to appear on the clerk’s computer screen, according to police and prosecutors.

In a plea agreement, Neal conceded that he proceeded to tell the employee, “You’re being robbed — don’t make a mistake. … You don’t want anyone to get hurt; don’t make a mistake.”

Neal also handed the teller a note reading, “You’re being robbed no mistake (sic).”

Based on the information from Neal’s customer profile, FBI agents and police detectives put his home under surveillance and arrested him.

The defendant had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.