TRENTON– A Washington man was sentenced to 8 years in prison yesterday for robbing five banks – including one in Scotch Plains – between Jan. 29 and March 10, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Joseph Pennello, 47, previously pleaded guilty to five counts of bank robbery, admitting he robbed banks scattered throughout three New Jersey counties. Pennello entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano, who imposed the sentence in Trenton federal court.
During his guilty plea, Pennello admitted to robbing the following banks:
- $2,279 from PNC Bank in Washington on Jan. 29
- $2,810 from TD Bank in Scotch Plains on Feb. 6
- $3,335 from PNC Bank in Hackensack on Feb. 11
- $8,531 from Chase Bank in Hackettstown on Feb. 18
- $1,099 from Wells Fargo Bank in Rutherford on March 10
Pennello entered the banks and demanded money from the tellers, either verbally or using notes. During the robbery of the TD Bank in Scotch Plains, Pennello’s note demanded all the money in the teller’s drawer. He also passed a note to a teller at the PNC Bank in Hackensack which read, “This is a robbery. No alarms. No dye-packs. No tracers. No one gets hurts [sic].” At the PNC Bank in Washington, Pennello demanded money from a teller while gesturing toward what appeared to be a firearm concealed on his person.
On March 12, Pennello walked into a police station and turned himself in to law enforcement officials. He has been in custody since that time.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Pisano sentenced Pennello to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $18,054 in restitution.
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