Second man sentenced in Plano bank robbery
Two men who thought it would be a good idea to be at a motel only a short distance from the bank they were going to rob have been sentenced to prison.
Brandon Lawrence Cooper, 27, of Plano, was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison by Judge Mark Rusch of the 401st District Court.
Cooper was found guilty last January of helping rob the First National Bank in Plano in July 2010. The judge postponed sentencing for Cooper until a pre-sentence investigation could take place.
Last June, Byron Yarbrough, 23, pled guilty to helping rob the bank, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Cooper's sentence may have been greater at least partly because he held prior convictions in Collin County, including injury to a child and assault of a public servant. He had received two-year sentences in those cases in 2004.
Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Gainer, who prosecuted Cooper from the beginning, presented evidence last January that Cooper and Yarbrough had "cased" the Preston Road branch of First National Bank the day before the crime.
The men entered the bank the next day wearing masks and brandishing a gun that police later discovered was a toy. The men approached a teller and told her to put all of the money in a bag or she would be shot.
According to testimony at the two-day trial in January, the teller complied with the men's demands because she believed she was going to die and would never see her 1-year-old son again if she did not comply.
Witnesses said they saw the two men running in the direction of the motel when the red dye pack, a device used by the bank during robberies to mark stolen money, exploded.Police obtained a search warrant for Cooper's cell phone, which contained images of Cooper holding the stained money from the robbery.
John Schomburger of the Collin County District Attorney's Office said Plano police detectives identified Yarbrough from video taken the day before the robbery and tracked his mane to a Motel 6 just down the road from the bank. Cooper was found in a room at that motel, along with the stolen money, the toy gun used in the robbery, the masks, gloves and other clothing worn in the robbery.
Yarbrough was later arrested at another nearby motel.