LITTLE FERRY, N.J. – An Elizabeth man was sentenced Thursday to more than nine years in federal prison for robbing four banks -- including one in Little Ferry in which he grabbed a teller by the blouse and threatened to shoot her before making off with nearly $4,000.
Israel Cosme, 36, pleaded guilty in January in exchange for the 115-month sentence -- nearly all of which he must serve because there's no parole in the federal prison system.
Cosmo was arrested on Jan. 24, 2017, nine days after federal authorities said he robbed the Main Street TD Bank in Little Ferry in an incident captured on surveillance video.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said he threatened to shoot the teller if she didn't comply, then reached over the counter, grabbed the teller by the shirt, and forcibly grabbed money out of her hand.
FBI agents who later searched his Maryland hotel room said they found a pair of blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt that resembled the clothing he was wearing during that robbery.
Cosme also admitted robbing a TD Bank in New York on Jan. 12, 2017; a TD Bank in Essex, MD, on Jan. 22, 2017; and a TD Bank in Baltimore on Jan. 23, 2017.
In each, Carpenito said, Cosme "handed tellers a note demanding money and stating that he had a gun."
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI with the investigation leading to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of his Criminal Division in Newark, and thanked Little Ferry police for their assistance.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas sentenced Cosme in federal court in Newark to three years of supervised release.
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