Houston Man Sentenced for Grocery Store Bank Robbery
Today, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Puglisi a 63-month sentence. At the hearing, additional testimony regarding personal pressures facing Puglisi at the time of the robberies was presented in a plea for leniency from the court. However, the court, citing the fact his crimes involved five separate banks not just the one to which he pleaded guilty, rejected this plea, and handed down the maximum sentence. He was further ordered to pay restitution and to serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Puglisi admitted that on July 2, 2012, he robbed the First Convenience Bank located inside a Kroger grocery store in north Houston. Late that morning, Puglisi entered the grocery store and began shopping. He placed several grocery items from the shelves into a grocery cart and then pushed the grocery cart toward the bank. He approached the teller, produced a revolver from the waistband of his pants and stated, “Don’t make it obvious.” The teller, fearing for his life, pulled some cash and gave it to Puglisi. Puglisi then fled the grocery store in an unknown direction, leaving the groceries and cart near the teller counter. Investigators were able to identify Puglisi as the person responsible for the robbery from evidence collected at the scene.
Puglisi was apprehended by authorities on September 19, 2012, shortly after committing another robbery of the First Community Credit Union in an HEB grocery store in Spring. A small amount of U.S. currency and a pellet gun were also seized at the time of Puglisi’s arrest.
Puglisi will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard D. Hanes is prosecuting the case.