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Bank robber gets six-year sentence for St. Albert, Edmonton crimes

Travis Jefferson pleaded guilty to robbing two St. Albert banks in 2017
1809 bank robber
DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

A man convicted of robbing four banks in 2017, including two in St. Albert, has been sentenced to six years in custody.

Travis Jefferson pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to the robberies of the St. Albert CIBC on St. Albert Trail and the Scotiabank on Hebert Road, as well as two banks in Edmonton. With credit for time served, Jefferson has 33 months left in his sentence.

Jefferson, 25, committed the robberies on July 24 and 25, 2017, while using methamphetamine. He said he didn't remember the incidents due to the drug use, but said the evidence clearly shows it was him committing the crimes.

Jefferson, who was 22 years old at the time of the robberies, addressed the court Tuesday morning during his sentencing and expressed remorse for the events.

“I would just like to apologize.”

The court heard Jefferson had started using drugs at a young age, around 12 or 13 years old, but his meth use escalated in 2015 when his cousin passed away from fentanyl poisoning. In 2016, his half-sister passed away from kidney failure, suspected to be from drug use. Three weeks later, Jefferson lost his dad to fentanyl poisoning.

Defence lawyer Sean Hume said Jefferson turned to drugs to cope with the trauma.

Hume told the court that since he has been in custody, Jefferson has been clean, with the exception of a few slip-ups, and has plans to work towards getting his GED once his sentence begins.

Addressing the court, Jefferson said: “In the future, I would like to take steps to ... learn how to better manage the hardships that do come with life and avoid this and utilize my community support and family support so I can avoid such embarrassing (events).”

The robberies

On July 24, 2017, at around 10 a.m. Jefferson entered the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in St. Albert and handed a note to the teller that read: “This is a robbery. Give me your money. No dye packs.”

The teller gave Jefferson around $600 and he immediately left the bank.

At 2 p.m. the same day, Jefferson went to the Scotiabank on 9740 170 Street in Edmonton and presented a similar note to the teller. Jefferson made away with $200 to $300 on foot.

The next day at 11 a.m., Jefferson made his way to another Scotiabank in Edmonton on 13150 97 Street. The note he used this time informed the teller Jefferson was robbing the bank and wanted $20, $50 and $100 bills. The teller wasn’t sure exactly how much money was handed over to Jefferson, but he was given small bills and then immediately left on foot.

At 4 p.m., Jefferson headed back into St. Albert and entered the Scotiabank at 2 Hebert Road, handing the teller a similar note to his previous robbery.

The teller started handing Jefferson small bills but Jefferson said he wanted larger bills. The teller opened another drawer containing larger bills and handed over around $2,000 to Jefferson. He left the bank on foot.

None of the robberies involved a weapon.

An observer called RCMP after watching Jefferson leave the St. Albert Scotiabank and run toward a vehicle. At around 5:50 p.m., an RCMP member saw a vehicle matching the description of the one Jefferson used at a gas station in St. Albert near the Hebert Road robbery.

The officer recognized the vehicle description and Jefferson from past investigations.

As Jefferson approached the passenger side of the suspect vehicle, the officer told him to stop. He started running toward the St. Albert river valley and after a short chase he was arrested.

Justice J.H Goss accepted the guilty plea and joint submission for the four robberies.

Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko said Jefferson was on release from other charges when he committed the crimes, had a criminal record that included a similar conviction with the use of a firearm in the past and there was a degree of planning and deliberation that went into the crime – all of which were aggravating factors for the charge.

Mitigating factors include Jefferson's guilty plea for the crimes and his relative youthfulness at the time of the incidents. Also included was his relative co-operation with the RCMP after his arrest.

Sopko argued Jefferson had a high degree of moral culpability for the crimes but noted he didn’t use a weapon during any of the events and there was no threat of violence. He also noted Jefferson’s drug use and that he had minimal success, obtaining only $2,000 to $3,000 from the crimes.

Along with having to serve another two years and nine months behind bars, Jefferson will have to submit a DNA sample and has a lifetime weapons prohibition.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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