An Atlanta man has been sentenced to over 10 years in prison for robbing a Smyrna bank at gunpoint before leading police on a high-speed chase that cut through a shopping center park-ing lot and a residential neighborhood.
Donte Deshawn Alston, 23, was sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors said Alston entered the Fifth Third Bank at 2197 Cobb Parkway wearing a hooded sweater, black mask, and gloves and made off with about $2,500 in his backpack.
Alston did not know that the bank’s funds included a GPS tracking device that allowed the Marietta Police Department to immediately track his movements.
“Robbery is the epitome of a premeditated violent crime, and fleeing from the police at a high rate of speed endangers the community as well as police officers,” said Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn. “I appreciate both our officers who placed themselves in harm’s way to capture this vio-lent criminal and our federal partners.”
Police said Alston attempted to evade officers by speeding through a shopping center parking lot and local streets in excess of 70 miles per hour, before ultimately losing control of his vehicle in a residential neighborhood. Alston also tried to escape following the crash, but MPD officers apprehended him in a nearby wooded area. The officers recovered Alston’s backpack that con-tained a loaded firearm, the stolen bank funds, and the GPS tracking device.
“This defendant’s complete disregard for the safety of innocent civilians is reprehensible,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thankfully the quick response by officers from the Marietta Police Department, the diligence of FBI agents who investigated this case, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office who prosecuted this case, Alston’s victims can take solace that he will not be a threat to traumatize anyone else.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which focuses on prosecuting those who most significantly drive violence in communities, and supports and fosters partner-ships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.