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Indian American jailed for 21 years for armed bank robbery

world Updated: Dec 12, 2009 10:52 IST

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An Indian American has been sentenced to 255 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for an armed bank robbery and shooting a bank teller in the hand with a shotgun in 2008.

The alleged robber, Anirudh Lakhan Sukhu, 43, of Silver Spring was sentenced Friday by US District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. Baltimore, Maryland, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

According to his plea agreement, Sukhu met with two conspirators, Sharman Said and Omar Burnett, on Nov 20, 2008 to plan a robbery of the Bank of America located on Ten Oaks Road in Clarksville, Maryland.

That same morning, the robbers rode to the bank in Sukhu's pick-up truck and entered, brandishing guns and announcing the robbery. Burnett brandished his handgun, vaulted the counter, and demanded money from the tellers.

Sukhu, armed with a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun, entered an office where a bank employee was hiding and ordered the employee to "come out".

When the employee moved, Sukhu fired, shooting the employee in the hand and permanently injuring her. Sukhu then also vaulted the counter and took money from the tellers, which he placed in a red and black bag. Said remained at the front door, armed with a handgun, and served as a look-out.

The robbers took $23,471 and fled from the bank in a truck. A witness called 911 and gave a description of the vehicle. Law enforcement officers pursued the robbers at high speeds through four counties. The robbers eventually abandoned the truck in Montgomery County near Said's home and they fled on foot.

Burnett fired at police and was killed. The stolen money, a second handgun and a sawed-off shotgun used during the robbery were seized near Burnett's body.

The other handgun was recovered near the abandoned truck. Said escaped by hiding in his home, and was subsequently arrested Jan 8, 2009. Sukhu called 911 to falsely report that he had been the victim of a carjacking involving his pick-up truck, the same truck used in the robbery.

During a subsequent interview with police, Sukhu admitted participating in the robbery and admitted that he was the robber who fired the shotgun, injuring the bank employee.

Sharman Said, 27, of Burtonsville, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec 18.