Man in Va. prison pleads guilty to NC bank holdup

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Emery Sanderlin, who pleaded guilty to common law robbery last month, is shown in this security camera photo robbing the Towne Bank of Currituck branch in Moyock, Jan. 6, 2016.

Emery Sanderlin.jpg

By William F. West
Staff Writer

Thursday, December 7, 2017

CURRITUCK — A Virginia man already serving a prison sentence in Virginia for robbery and fraud is now serving a concurrent prison sentence in North Carolina after pleading guilty to robbing a bank in Currituck County nearly two years ago.  

Emery David Sanderlin, 39, of Virginia Beach, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole to 13 to 25 months in a North Carolina prison after pleading guilty to common law robbery on Nov. 27. Sanderlin was accused of robbing the Towne Bank of Currituck’s branch in Moyock in January 2016.

Cole ordered Sanderlin’s North Carolina sentence to run concurrently with the nine-year sentence he is already serving in Virginia following his conviction on robbery and fraud charges in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Feb. 6. Cole also credited Sanderlin with the eight days he served in jail while awaiting disposition of the charges against him in North Carolina.

Cole also handed down a $2,195 civil judgment against Sanderlin, compensation for the cash he admitted taking from Towne Bank of Currituck in the holdup.

According to the Currituck Sheriff's Office, Towne Bank's Moyock branch, located less than a mile south of the North Carolina-Virginia border, was held up by a lone robber the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2016. The robber approached a teller, handed her a note stating a robbery was in progress, and then fled on foot across N.C. Highway 168 after being handed cash.

The man reportedly got into a van with Virginia license plates and headed north. Currituck deputies searched the area and found clothing the robber had discarded as he fled, but were unable to locate the man.

After Towne Bank security camera photos of the suspect were publicly released, Currituck deputies began receiving numerous tips and Sanderlin was identified as a person of interest in the bank robbery.

The Currituck Sheriff’s Office eventually learned Sanderlin was in custody at the Virginia Beach Police Department on unrelated charges, so deputies went there, questioned him and obtained a statement.

A Currituck grand jury indicted Sanderlin on the common law robbery charge on Oct. 26. North Carolina law defines common law robbery as taking something from a person by threat or force. It’s different from armed robbery because a dangerous weapon isn’t involved. Still, a conviction on a charge of common law robbery can result in a maximum prison sentence of nearly four years.

Sanderlin is currently serving his nine-year sentence in Virginia at St. Brides Correctional Center in Chesapeake.

Sanderlin has a previous criminal history of larceny and robbery convictions. According to Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Gregory Carter, Sanderlin was convicted in that state of petit larceny and grand larceny in 2010. Sanderlin was released after serving approximately a year and a half of a three-year sentence, Carter said.

Court records also show Sanderlin was convicted of second-degree robbery in 1999 in California. Two years before that, he was also convicted in California of theft and purchasing illegal drugs.