ITHACA, N.Y. — A man who robbed a bank in downtown Ithaca pleaded guilty on Wednesday to felony third-degree robbery. He was sentenced to serve between two and six years in state prison and ordered to return the stolen money.
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In October, Ian Miles entered Elmira Savings Bank on East State Street and slipped a note to the teller before leaving the bank with $3,182 in cash and taking a taxi to Destiny USA Mall in Syracuse.
In court on Wednesday, the teller read an emotional statement directed at Miles.
“What you did lasted about one to two minutes, but the effects of what you’ve done have lasted much longer,” she said. “I have had to reassure my children that I am safe going to work, which I should never have to do.”
A branch manager for the bank also spoke in court on Wednesday.
“On that unfortunate day in October, these employees who are mothers, sisters, and wives had to endure an experience that they can never forget,” he said.
The branch manager asked Judge John Rowley to give Miles the maximum sentence. “The time has come for the community to deter this escalation of potential violence and harm.”
Judge Rowley and Andrew Bonavia, the deputy district attorney, agreed that banks are an especially sacred place. “There are certain locations in society that people know criminal activity activity cannot occur,” said Bonavia. “Those are airports, schools, and banks.”
Rowley added, “There is a history of violence and death associated with bank robberies. It does instill fear in the community to read about a bank robbery.”
Miles, who is currently being held in Tompkins County Jail, said to Rowley, “I’ll take any consequences that you feel necessary. I do apologize to [the teller] and the bank sincerely.” His attorney said he did not know if Miles was under the influence of drugs at the time of the robbery, but that he was “certainly dope-sick.”
The two to six year sentence that Rowley gave Miles is more than the one to three years recommended by Bonavia. Rowley said this was in light of the fact that Miles had the chance to complete a drug rehabilitation program and was unsuccessful and showed a lack of commitment. “I deal with addiction every day, and I’m still surprised,” said Rowley.
The teller said in her statement that Miles had tried to hand her a note of apology at a previous court date, but she had refused. “You’ve handed me one note too many.”