Guilty plea in bank-robbery spree


A Newark man has pleaded guilty in Federal Court to robbing five banks including one each in Harrison and Kearny during a month-long spree last autumn, U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Authorities said that prior to his arrest on Nov. 30, 2016, Jermaine Mason, a/k/a Asim Harris, 39, was on federal supervised release for a federal bank robbery conviction after he robbed several banks in 2006 and 2007.

Mason reportedly launched his 2016 criminal capers Oct. 21, with a hold-up of the Kearny Bank on Harrison Ave. in Harrison, fleeing with approximately $1,549.  The heists ended Nov. 29, 2016, after the robbery of the Provident Bank, 249 Kearny Ave., Kearny, where his take was about $1,700.

The following day, Mason was arrested in Jersey City.

The bandit’s biggest haul last year apparently was  $11,890 from a PNC Bank in Jersey City on Nov. 3.   His other targets were a Popular Community Bank in Newark, Nov. 17, and a Provident Bank in Jersey City, Nov. 18.

In entering his guilty pleas May 23, Mason admitted that during each of the robberies, he either presented a note to bank tellers or verbally demanded money from them.

Each of the robbery counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, he is to forfeit at least $16,429 in currency and/or property representing the proceeds of the crimes. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.

In announcing the plea, Fitzpatrick thanked various law enforcement agencies, including the Kearny, Harrison, Newark and Jersey City police, for their work in the investigation and apprehension of Mason.

As reported in The Observer after his arrest, authorities said the suspect’s identity was developed through latent fingerprints at the crime scenes, along with security videos, including footage of the robber fleeing one Jersey City hold-up in a 2005 silver Monte Carlo, which investigation revealed Mason had purchased two weeks before.

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