A man who pleaded guilty to a Diamond Bar bank robbery, and was connected to a Valencia Chase Bank robbery, was sentenced Monday to seven years and 11 months in prison.
Forrest Colby Rowe, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery on March 9 after video evidence pinned him as the primary suspect in a Jan. 4 Diamond Bar bank robbery.
Authorities said Rowe was also connected to five bank robberies that occurred between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6 in the cities of Yorba Linda, Fallbrook, Tujunga, Diamond Bar and Valencia. Rowe was only charged for the Diamond Bar robbery.
The sentencing, according to Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, occurred via videoconference Monday morning. Rowe had faced a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The criminal complaint initially filed against Rowe stated that he robbed the Diamond Bar bank two days before the Valencia bank robbery.
In both the Diamond Bar and Valencia robberies, Rowe allegedly walked in and handed a bank teller an envelope that said he had a gun and to give him the money, according to the criminal complaint.
Law enforcement officials tracked Rowe’s cellphone to a hotel in San Bernardino, where a search warrant was issued. He was formally arrested on suspicion of felony bank robbery shortly after midnight Jan. 9.
Court documents indicated FBI officials, during a search of the hotel room where Rowe was staying, found clothes that matched those worn by the suspect seen in bank surveillance footage, a silver Mustang that matched the one used in the Diamond Bar bank robbery and a note inside a Chase envelope that read, “ATT: Robbery No Hero’s (sic) No Alarms I have a gun. Just relax. Nothing funny. No alarms no die (sic) packs no hero’s (sic) nobody will get hurt put the note and money in the bag.”
FBI agents tied Rowe to the crimes based on similarities in the robberies that witnesses noticed, as well as descriptions of the suspect and evidence found in Rowe’s hotel room, according to the complaint.