ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Washington, D.C. man was sentenced today to 21 years in prison in connection with a series of armed robberies that he conducted at multiple banks and a retail store in northern Virginia in 2018 and 2019.
According to court documents, Freddie Lee McRae, 35, committed a series of robberies in 2018 and 2019. On November 13, 2018, McRae robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch located in Alexandria. McRae handed a teller a note that demanded money, indicated he had a firearm, and threatened to “[k]ill [a]ll [b]ankers” if the teller did not comply. McRae pointed a firearm at two tellers before fleeing with approximately $8,750 in cash.
“This case involved a chilling armed robbery spree during which innocent community members were threatened with serious injury or death if they did not comply with repeated demands for money,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are thankful to our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigation across multiple jurisdictions to bring the defendant to justice, including apprehending him after he jumped out of a moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River.”
“The FBI, along with our partners at every level of law enforcement, are committed to protecting the public from the most egregious and violent criminals who terrorize the community,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division. “Today’s significant sentence demonstrates the seriousness and threat McRae posed to businesses and people in our community. The sentence is the result of teamwork among our partners to hold him accountable and prevent future violence.”
On December 10, 2018, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert bank branch located in Alexandria. McRae approached a teller, who asked if he wanted to make a deposit. McRae responded, “gimmie your money,” before lifting up his shirt and pulling a pistol from his waistband, which he pointed at the teller. As the teller gathered money, McRae racked the slide on the pistol and demanded all large bills. McRae fled with approximately $1,366 in cash.
On April 21, 2019, McRae robbed the Legend Kicks & Apparel store located in Arlington. McRae brandished a pistol and demanded that two store employees empty their pockets, which they did. McRae then ordered the employees to lie on the floor before taking approximately $2,160 in cash that belonged to the store. McRae fled the store on foot and the area by vehicle. When a law enforcement officer tried to pull over the vehicle, McRae stopped only briefly before leading law enforcement officers on a vehicle pursuit on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. McRae ultimately jumped out of his moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River. McRae tried to flee law enforcement by jumping into the river, but officers pulled him out and placed him under arrest.
As part of his guilty plea, McRae also admitted to robbing a Bank of America branch in Springfield on October 27, 2018; a BB&T branch located in Alexandria on December 20, 2018; and a Capital One branch located in Bowie, Maryland, on January 2, 2019. McRae further admitted to attempting to rob a Capital One branch located in Arlington on February 11, 2019, and to obstructing justice following his apprehension.
The bank robberies that McRae admitted to committing were investigated by the FBI as part of the “Beltway Bank Bandit” series.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Acting Chief Andy Penn, Arlington County Chief of Police; Michael L. Brown, Alexandria Chief of Police; and David M. Rohrer, Fairfax County Interim Chief of Police and Deputy County Executive for Public Safety, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Northern Virginia Violent Crime Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of FBI Special Agents and Task Force Officers from northern Virginia law enforcement agencies. Significant investigative assistance in this case was provided by the Arlington County Police and the Fairfax County Police. The task force is charged with identifying, investigating, and disrupting the most egregious and violent criminal actors within northern Virginia.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha Smalky and Alexander E. Blanchard prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-268.