Serial Houston bank robber headed to federal prison

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A Houston man was sentenced Friday to more than 21 years in federal prison after being convicted of two counts of bank robbery, one count of attempted  bank robbery and one count of escape, according to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez in Houston.

A federal jury convicted Henry Lee London Jr., 49, in May 2016 after a three-day trial and five hours of deliberation.

London’s sentencing comes on the heels of announcement Thursday by top local law enforcement officials of a coordinated effort to investigate, arrest and convict violent Houston criminals. 

“This is exactly the kind of criminal we are targeting with our collaborative Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative announced yesterday,” said Martinez in the news release. “Reduction of violent crime is important to the community and this sentence reflects the severity of consequences to those that put our citizens at risk.”

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon said London must serve a total of 262 months in prison. He had two prior federal bank robbery convictions, making him a career offender. 

During the trial, the jury learned that London escaped from Leidel Sanction Center on Commerce Street in Houston in March 2014, where he was serving the remainder of his federal sentence  for his previous bank robbery convictions. 

London was wearing a plain blue baseball hat, black shirt, tan backpack and shoes, and a man wearing the same clothing was seen robbing the BBVA Compass bank on 43rd Street in Houston. The robber gave the teller a note reading, “This is a robbery give large bills.”

A man wearing the same clothes also tried to rob an IBC bank on the Katy Freeway four days later. The teller testified that she attempted to give the robber money, but he became frustrated and left. 

Less than an hour later, the same man was spotted wearing the same clothes robbing Comerica Bank on Highway 6 South. 

London’s defense attorney said he did escape from the halfway house, Leidel Sanction Center, but they maintained he was not the robber.

The jury concluded otherwise and found him guilty on all counts. 

London will remain in custody while he waits to transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility. 

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force which included the U.S. Marshals Service, sheriff’s offices in Harris and Fort Bend counties and the Houston Police Department conducted the investigation.

Gabrielle Banks contributed to this story. 

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