Zephyrhills, Florida -- A senior U.S. District Judge sentenced a Zephyrhills man to 9 years and 7 months in federal prison for two bank robberies he committed in October 2012.
The U.S. State Attorney's Office says Thomas Rhoden pleaded guilty to both robbery counts on Dec. 18, 2012.
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As part of his sentence, Rhoden was ordered to repay the nearly $4,900 he stole from the banks in addition to paying restitution in the same amount.
Court documents stated on Oct. 10, 2012, Rhoden entered the Zephyrhills branch of Sunshine State Federal Savings Bank dressed in dark colored clothing and wearing a waist pack. He passed a note to the teller demanding money. He also stated that he had a bomb in the waist pack, and that this was not a joke.
Then. the next week, on Oct. 17, 2012, Rhoden robbed a Hudson branch of Bank of America in the same manner. He threatened the teller and ordered her to not try anything. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office bomb squad responded to the scene of both bank robberies to disarm the alleged bombs. In both instances, the bombs turned out to be dirt and gravel.
The judge sentenced Rhoden to the maximum sentence due to the seriousness of the crimes and his significant criminal history.