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January 7, 2013

Wichitan sentenced for helping brother rob Commerce Branch bank

A Wichita man was sentenced Monday in federal court to 92 months in prison for helping his brother rob a bank last year.

A Wichita man was sentenced Monday in federal court to 92 months in prison for helping his brother rob a bank last year.

Justin W. Cooper, 24, pleaded guilty in October to aiding and abetting the robbery of Commerce Bank’s branch at 1701 S. Broadway on March 16. He drove the getaway car for his brother, Lessie Cooper, who entered the bank and stole the money while armed with a 9 mm carbine rifle.

As Lessie Cooper was getting back in the car with the stolen money, dye packs exploded, surrounding him in a red mist. A Wichita police officer who saw the packs explode chased Coopers’ car to the intersection of Clark and Silver, north of Pawnee and east of the Arkansas River. Justin Cooper surrendered on the spot, and Lessie was arrested after trying to hide in a residence.

Lessie Cooper, who is from Fort Worth, pleaded guilty to bank robbery in June and was sentenced in September to160 months in prison.

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