Texas man sentenced to nine years in prison for Wichita bank robbery

A Texas man was sentenced Thursday to more than nine years in federal prison for robbing a Wichita bank last year.

Lessie B. Cooper Jr., 34, Fort Worth, was sentenced to 112 months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He previously pleaded to the March 16, 2012, robbery of the Commerce Bank branch at 1701 S. Broadway.

In his plea, Cooper admitted his brother, co-defendant Justin Cooper, drove him to the bank. Once inside, Lessie Cooper jumped over the counter and pointed a loaded rifle at the tellers.

As he left the bank and was getting into the car a dye pack exploded, attracting the attention of a police officer sitting in her patrol car nearby. Police pursued Cooper’s car until it stopped at Clark and Silver streets.

Justin Cooper surrendered there, but Lessie Cooper fled on foot. Police eventually found him hiding under a bed in a residence in the 2100 block of South Silver.

Justin Cooper pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a bank robbery and was sentenced 92 months in federal prison.