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By Alex Bridges - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- A grand jury has indicted a West Virginia man accused of robbing numerous banks in the region late last year, including two in Winchester.
Benjamin Luzan Sebastian, 33, of Inwood, appeared Tuesday afternoon in Winchester Circuit Court via video from the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. The grand jury indicted Sebastian on three charges of robbery. He remains held at the jail without bond.
Two of the indictments charge Sebastian with robbing two employees at the Bank of Clarke County, 202 N. Loudoun St., on Nov. 4. The third indictment charged Sebastian with robbing an employee at United Bank, 1041 Berryville Ave., on Nov. 29. The indictments indicate Sebastian did not appear to have a gun at the time of the robberies, although police said the defendant told investigators he threatened the tellers in the Nov. 4 heist.
Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. ordered Sebastian to appear in court April 19. Sebastian's appointed attorney, William A. "Beau" Bassler, appeared in the court earlier and agreed to the next scheduled date.
A judge in Winchester General District Court certified Sebastian's three charges to the grand jury Feb. 16.
Authorities in Loudoun and Fairfax counties have charged Sebastian with four bank robberies between Oct. 6 and Nov. 20.
Sebastian is charged in Loudoun County General District Court with two counts each of robbery, use of a firearm and entering a bank with intent to commit robbery, on Oct. 6 and Nov. 20.
A judge in Fairfax County General District Court on March 7 certified Sebastian's two counts of robbery and one count of use of a firearm to a grand jury. Court records indicate the robberies took place Oct. 21 and 26.
An affidavit for a search warrant filed in Jefferson County, W.Va., Magistrate Court states a total of approximately $38,000 was taken from both Winchester banks.
An arrest warrant filed in the magistrate court indicates Sebastian worked with an accomplice in the Nov. 29 heist. Surveillance video footage shows a Chevrolet Silverado pickup turn around the bank before the robbery and go down the access road between the parking lot and Elm Street as Sebastian entered the building, according to the warrant.
While no apparent motive in the robberies has been disclosed in court documents, Sebastian in early January after his arrest told a judge he had been unemployed for a year.