By Karen Zautyk
A 50-year-old Nutley was sentenced last week to four years and seven months in prison for the 2013 robbery of a Clifton bank — a crime committed while he was on supervised release following a previous bank-robbery conviction.
The bandit, Wayne Winner, had been arrested about a week after the Clifton crime thanks to an alert and observant Nutley police officer, authorities reported.
According to court documents, Winner entered a Valley National Bank in Clifton on Jan. 4, 2013, and handed a teller a bag and a note, which read, “No joke, loose bills, no dye, in a hurry.” The amount of money taken was not disclosed.
The following week, Nutley Police Officer John Mecka was on patrol on Washington Ave. at 1:40 a.m. when he noticed a car parked in front of a closed business. Suspicious, Mecka checked the plates and found they were not on file, NPD Lt. Peter LoCurto told The Observer.
LoCurto said Mecka conducted a motor vehicle stop and saw items in the car that matched the description of those connected with the Clifton bank robber, namely a neck warmer, baseball cap, yellow shopping bag and brown glasses.
The driver, Winner, was taken into custody and Clifton police were contacted.
Winner was also charged with possession of an imitation firearm, LoCurto said.
“It was a really good job by John,” the lieutenant noted. On April 8, 2014, Winner pleaded guilty to the robbery, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. On Aug. 6, he was sentenced in Newark federal court to a 40-month prison term by Judge William H. Walls. The judge imposed an additional 15 months, to run consecutively, because Winner had violated the terms of his supervised release following a prior federal bank robbery conviction, Fishman reported.
In addition to the new prison term, Walls sentenced Winner to a year of supervised release.