Alleged Bank Robber Has A Long Rap Sheet

Federal prosecutors say 66 year old Van McDuffie has a criminal record leading back to 1967- a record that includes 62 arrests and five felony convictions, some for violent crimes and an undetermined amount of parole violations.

And, at his initial appearance in federal court yesterday they alleged he carefully planned to continue that criminal career Wednesday morning, scouting a couple of banks, retrieving a gun from a storage unit and catching a cab at the Atlantis.

They say he told the driver he had to run some errands, but needed some cash and was driven to the Bank of America branch a few blocks south.

There according to witnesses, a man entered shortly after 10 wearing a mask, pushing aside at least one customer and confronting a teller with a gun, handing her a bag, saying "This is a robbery. Give me all your money!"

Standing in front of adjacent teller was 80 year old Charles Sperry. The former Marine and Vietnam vet turned to the robber and said "Get out of here."

Witnesses say the robber turned and shot Sperry once in the chest, then confronted the other teller who was cowering on the floor and robbed her as well.

He then fled the bank heading across South Virginia Street toward Meadowood Mall.

An off-duty police officer who was in the bank, followed, and at the bus stop at the south end of the mall, apprehended McDuffie without incident.

In his pocket a gun and in a paper bag he was carrying $13-thousand dollars, the exact amount missing in the robbery.

McDuffie has apparently admitted his role in the crime.

His last known address in Reno was a one month stay at a low cost housing unit run by a local charity. His mail is still delivered there, indicating he may not have had a permanent address since then.

His next scheduled appearance in federal court is set for the end of the month.

The charges carry a possible death sentence.


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