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Posted January 7, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Plea deal in robbery spree

By Candace Sipos -- csipos@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A West Virginia man charged with robbing two banks in the city in November 2010 will spend eight years in prison in addition to any time levied in other jurisdictions.

After pleading guilty to three counts of robbery, Benjamin Luzan Sebastian, 33, of Inwood, W.Va., was sentenced to 30 years, with 22 years suspended, in Winchester Circuit Court on Friday as part of a plea agreement. Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. also ordered him to pay more than $38,000 in restitution.

Sebastian offered no statement before his sentencing.

The sentencing guidelines provided to the judge recommended anywhere from 10 years and 10 months to 17 years behind bars.

City authorities charged Sebastian with robbing two employees at the downtown branch of the Bank of Clarke County on Nov. 4 and one employee at the United Bank on Berryville Avenue on Nov. 29.

He also has been charged in four bank robberies between Oct. 6 and Nov. 20 in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. According to Commonwealth's Attorney Alexander Iden, the city sentence is running consecutively with six years he received in Fairfax County, making his total time behind bars 14 years so far.

Sebastian pleaded guilty in Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 23 to the Oct. 21 and Oct. 26, 2010, robbery charges. He received two concurrent 10-year terms, each with seven years suspended, and he was ordered to pay almost $16,000 in restitution.

Iden said that Sebastian confessed to all robberies in the three jurisdictions.

Sebastian is scheduled for sentencing on charges in Loudoun County on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

According to the indictments, Sebastian did not appear to have a firearm on him during the city robberies, but Iden said he told the clerks in both instances that he had a gun.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Jefferson County, W.Va., Magistrate Court, roughly $38,000 was stolen from both city banks.

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