Man caught on bus with stolen, GPS-tracked cash admits to robbing Pittsburgh bank
A Pittsburgh man caught by police on a public bus with GPS-tracked, stolen cash sticking out of his pants pocket admitted to robbing a bank at random in an attempt to fuel his drug addiction, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Jonathan Owens-El, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of federal bank robbery in connection to the crime at a Key Bank branch in Downtown Pittsburgh last year, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said.
Concealing his face with a blue scarf and wearing gloves, Owens-El entered the bank on March 19, 2018 and approached a teller, Brady said.
He handed the teller a note that read, “No Dye, No Alarm. 50’s, 20’s, 10s,” according to prosecutors.
Owens-El made off on foot with $260 — plus $40 wrapped around a GPS tracking device.
The tracker traced Owens-El to a Port Authority of Allegheny County bus traveling in the area.
A police officer boarded the bus and spotted Owens-El sitting in the back with a blue scarf tucked under his leg.
The officer asked him to stand up, and noticed cash “protruding from his left front pants pocket,” prosecutors said.
During a police interview, Owens-El confessed to robbing the bank, prosecutors said.
“Owens said he picked Key Bank at random and decided to rob the bank to support his drug addiction,” prosecutors said.
Owens will remain detained until his sentencing hearing, which U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti scheduled for Sept. 18.
He faces a possible maximum sentence of no more than 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000, Brady said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy prosecuted the case with help from Pittsburgh police and the FBI.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .