Chatham County repeat bank robber could get 20 years in prison

January 27, 2023
1 min read
Fence with barbed wire
Photo by Gelpi on Deposit Photos

A Chatham County man faces up to 20 years in federal prison after admitting that he robbed a Savannah bank, just seven years after he was sent to state prison for a prior bank robbery.

Shawn Kelly, 45, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of Bank Robbery, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The guilty plea subjects Kelly to a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison and substantial financial penalties, followed by up to three years of supervised release after completion of any prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Shawn Kelly is a repeat offender whose actions terrorized bank employees – exactly the type of criminal the city of Savannah sought the help of our office in removing from their streets,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our partnership in bringing on board a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney dedicated to reducing violent crime in Savannah will continue to pay such dividends.”

As described in the plea agreement, Kelly admitted that on Sept. 15, he entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 136 Bull Street and demanded money from a teller. After receiving $2,200 in cash, he left the bank on foot.

Responding officers from the Savannah Police Department located Kelly and found him inside a restroom at the Chatham Area Transit station changing clothes, with the cash from the robbery in his pocket.

Kelly previously was convicted on a state charge of robbery in Gwinnett County and sentenced to prison in 2015. He was on parole from that conviction at the time of the Wells Fargo robbery.

“State prison was apparently not enough of a teaching moment for Kelly because he returned to his bank-robbing ways while he was still on parole for the last bank robbery he committed,’ said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thanks to the assistance of our partners with the Savannah Police Department, he’ll have up to 20 years in federal prison to think about what he’ll do the next time he is released from prison.”

This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer.

The FBI and the Savannah Police Department investigated the case, which is being prosecuted for the United States by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Makeia Jonese and Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Gregory Gilluly Jr.


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