A Texas man arrested in Nacogdoches, Texas, after a traffic stop there was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison by a federal judge in Arkansas over the man's involvement in an attempt to burglarize a Regions Bank ATM in Jonesboro in September 2020.
Dreshawn Anthony, 30, of Houston, was indicted in Arkansas along with five other men from the Houston area -- Judah Frankhagen, John Joubert, Alvin Jackson, Ronnie O'Bryant Jr. and Reco Ross -- in connection with the attempted burglary after the six men were arrested in Nacogdoches, Texas following a traffic stop there. The men were later determined to have attempted to rob ATMs at four Bank of America branches as well -- two in Iowa and two in Illinois.
According to court records, two individuals broke into the ATM at the Regions Bank branch at 617 Southwest Drive in Jonesboro about 1:45 a.m. and attempted to break into the ATM using tow chains attached to a Ford F-250 later reported stolen from Centerline Electric to pull the cover from the ATM. Although they were unsuccessful, damage to the ATM, which was rendered inoperable, amounted to about $35,000.
Later that morning, about 9 a.m., a police officer in Nacogdoches pulled over a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse and a blue Infiniti after seeing the two speeding and traveling closely together. Under questioning, records said, the men gave evasive and inconsistent answers to police about where they were going and where they had been.
Inside the Mitsubishi, police found clothing and items consistent with recent break-ins and burglaries, including the attempted ATM burglary in Jonesboro. In the Infiniti, officers found pry bars and a tow chain as well as receipts and paperwork from Illinois and Iowa that placed the men in the proximity of the ATM burglary attempts in those states.
All four men denied having been in any states other than Texas and Louisiana, the records said, but receipts, toll records, surveillance video and cellphone records placed the men in the proximity of the ATM burglary attempts in Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas during the same time frames in which those attempts were made.
Frankhagen and O'Bryant both pleaded guilty earlier this year and have been sentenced to two years in prison. Joubert and Ross are scheduled to go to trial in January. Jackson is currently a fugitive.
Anthony's attorney, KenDrell Collins with the Federal Public Defender's Office in Little Rock, asked U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. for a low-end guideline sentence of 24 months for his client. Collins pointed out that Anthony was incarcerated from the age of 20 to 25.
"He spent his whole early 20s in prison before he even had a chance to get to the age where he could purchase alcohol," Collins said. While he was in prison, Collins said, Anthony's great-grandmother, who he said had raised his client, died.
"So in 2017, when he was released, he had no vision and no direction," Collins said. "[His great-grandmother] passed away and he found himself in this situation where he became addicted to fentanyl and opioid pills."
But, Collins said, during the past 17 months Anthony has been in pre-trial detention, "that time period has been really clarifying for him."
Collins pointed out six letters sent to Moody in support of Anthony from family members in Houston and noted that a two-year sentence would be in line not only with the sentences handed down to two of his co-defendants, but also with the national average of similarly situated defendants.
"I know I broke the law," Anthony said. "I want another chance to get out and be there for my son and my niece, my mama's getting old and my grandma's getting old."
Anthony then began talking about a settlement he anticipates from a class-action lawsuit that he said he expects to get about $60,000 from.
At that, Moody, referencing the nearly $60,000 all the defendants are responsible for in restitution to Regions Bank, Bank of America and Centerline Electric, asked Anthony how much of that money he intended to put toward restitution.
"Whether it's joint and several, you are responsible for the entire amount until it's paid," he said.
"I'll pay all of it if I have to," Anthony said. "I'll do it for my friends and to be with my son. Money isn't everything."
"It's quite a bit to the people you stole it from," Moody said.
Receiving no objection from Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Bragg, Moody sentenced Anthony to 24 months in prison and three years supervised release and ordered him to pay at least $10,000 toward the restitution owed out of his settlement once he receives it.