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Dotson Pleads Guilty To PG Bank Robbery

By Staff | Mar 9, 2011

Franklin Keith Dotson

New Martinsville resident Franklin Keith Dotson pleaded guilty Monday to robbing the WesBanco branch in Pine Grove.

Dotson, 26, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Wheeling before Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced that Dotson pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery in the Feb. 7 incident.

About 9:15 a.m. that day, Dotson entered the WesBanco wearing a wig, safety glasses, and a bandanna and demanded money from a bank teller. Officials said Dotson told the teller she should forfeit the money if she wanted to go home that evening. He reportedly kept one hand in his pocket during the incident, giving the teller the impression he was holding a pistol.

Wetzel County Sheriff James Hoskins said no one was injured in the robbery.

Monroe County law enforcement arrested Dotson a short while later, when he was seen driving a vehicle matching the description of that used to flee the scene of the robbery. A search of the vehicle revealed a curly wig, bandanna, BB gun and a lock-box containing more than $6,000. Included in that sum of cash were “bait bills,” or traceable bills used by banks in the event of a robbery.

According to FBI Special Agent Lawrence Quigley, Dotson admitted to the robbery after initially denying he had been in the area of the bank at the time of the crime. Quigley added that Dotson said financial needs prompted him to commit the robbery.

“The cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in this matter was outstanding, and as a result the case was resolved quickly,” said Ihlenfeld. “The defendant entered a guilty plea exactly one month after he robbed the bank in Pine Grove, and justice would not have been so swift without the great work of our agents.”

Dotson, who is on home detention with electronic monitoring pending sentencing, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert H. McWilliams Jr. and investigated by the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI.

“There was a great team effort by law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect,” Hoskins said, citing the work of law enforcement from Wetzel and Monroe counties as well as the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, New Martinsville Police Department, FBI, and State Police. He also commended the federal prosecutor for resolving the matter so efficiently, “It showed that all agencies will work together to get the job done so we can keep the public as safe as we can.”