Bank robber to be transferred to federal prison

MIFFLINTOWN – A McAlisterville man sentenced to serve eight years in federal prison for a string of bank robberies was supposed to be sentenced locally on a stolen property charge Friday, however, a federal law that prohibits a federal sentence from being carried out if it would run concurrently to the state sentence led to the defendant being released back to the federal system.

Juniata County District Attorney Cory Snook said if Richard L. Lockett, 38, was sentenced he would have to serve his state time on the stolen property charge first before he could be transferred to a federal prison.

To move things along, Lockett’s attorney proposed granting his client bail on the stolen property charge so he could be released back into the custody of the U.S. Attorney’s office and begin serving his federal sentence.

Snook did not oppose the motion and Judge Kenneth A. Mummah agreed to grant Lockett bail. Lockett will be sentenced via video conference on the stolen property charge from federal prison at a later date. Once he begins serving his sentence on the federal charges, he will be able to serve out his sentence on the stolen property charge concurrently to his federal case.

Lockett was charged in an federal indictment for robberies that occurred in 2012 on Oct. 22 at the First National Bank in Thompsontown, Oct. 27 at the Juniata Valley Bank in Port Royal and on Nov. 5 at the Swineford National Bank in Beaver Springs.

Lockett allegedly stole more than $20,000 from three different banks over a period of nearly 30 days to support a drug habit, police said.

Shortly after his arrest, a grand jury in Harrisburg indicted 38-year-old Lockett on three counts of bank robbery.

According to court documents, once Lockett was apprehended, he confessed to the robberies after requesting to speak with two FBI field agents.

Lockett also confessed to stealing a Ford Escort in Lewistown, which he used in the commission of two of the robberies, police said.

Police first began to zero in on Lockett as a suspect after Juniata County Probation Officer Abby Krepps told investigators she had received an anonymous phone call from someone who claimed Lockett was spending large amounts of money on drugs and bragging about stealing cars.

Shortly thereafter, Lockett’s nephew, Jesse Michalchic, was interviewed by police and told investigators he believed Lockett had committed the robberies, according to court documents.

Michalchic was shown surveillance photographs of the bank robberies, which reinforced his belief it was Lockett who committed the robberies, police said. The robber never displayed a weapon when he demanded cash from tellers, court documents indicate.

On the morning of Oct. 27, Lockett contacted Michalchic requesting a ride from the Giant food store in Newport to Harrisburg. During the course of the drive, Lockett removed a large sum of cash from his pants pocket, police said.

After arriving in Harrisburg, Michalchic saw Lockett remove another large sum of cash from a purse he had been carrying around with him. Michalchic said Lockett gave him $300 for the ride to Harrisburg, court documents indicate.

Lockett was arrested on Nov. 16, 2012, at the residence of Rebecca Powell, along South Pine Road in Lewistown. Powell was interviewed and told investigators Lockett had been in possession of a large amount of cash and had given her $1,000 to hold, which she later wired to him while he was in Harrisburg.

Powell also told investigators Lockett had been acting strangely and was using heroin, court documents state.

During the course of the investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police were assisted by the FBI, Lewistown Borough Police Department, Mifflin County Regional Police and the Granville Township Police Department.