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Baltimore Bank Robber Pleads Guilty to Holding Up a Florida Credit Union to Cover Filmmaking Costs

Nacoe Ray Brown is seen wearing a blue disposable face mask, rubber cloves, a baseball cap, a light collared shirt, and a dark tie. He appears to be communicating with a bank employee from behind a counter.

Nacoe Ray Brown (via U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida)

A Maryland man with a history of robbing banks faces up to 20 years behind bars for holding a Florida bank teller up for $4,200 — and an extra three years because he did it while he on supervised release.

Nacoe Ray Brown, 54, pleaded guilty Thursday to bank robbery and violating the terms of his supervised release, which had followed a nearly 20-year stint behind bars for robbing banks in Baltimore.

He was visiting Florida on June 28, 2022, when he robbed the McCoy Federal Credit Union in Belle Isle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in a press release Thursday. Brown wore a “baseball cap, sunglasses, a surgical style facemask, and plastic gloves” to the bank in order to pull off his heist.

According to the probable cause affidavit in support of Brown’s arrest, Brown approached a bank teller, identified only as “J.L.”

“J.L. noticed that the robber was holding a note and a counterfeit $100 bill, which he presented to J.L., requesting it be changed for small bills,” the affidavit said. “The $100 bill was clearly counterfeit to J.L. and stated ‘play money’ across the front of the bill. J.L. told the robber that the bill was fake, and the robber responded for J.L. to read the note.”

That note, according to the affidavit, read: “Keep smiling. I have a gun. Give me all of your 100’s, 50’s, 20’s, 20’s[,] 5’s. No 1’s. Don’t push alarm!”

J.L. placed “bait money” along with additional cash and the demand note into a plastic bag provided by Brown, the affidavit says. Brown then fled the bank with $4,296 in stolen cash.

Another bank employee, identified only as “L.R.”, saw Brown run across the street to the gas station, court documents say, adding that she “watched carefully because she thought the robber’s behavior was suspicious.”

L.R. noticed that Brown emerged from the gas station wearing different clothes. He had also removed the mask, hat, and sunglasses. L.R. then watched as Brown went to a hotel adjacent to the bank.

That’s where he was ultimately apprehended by police, who ultimately recovered the demand note and the stolen cash from Brown’s bag. They also recovered the disguise that he had tossed in the restroom of the gas station.

The affidavit said that Brown was taken to the Belle Isle Police Department, where he “was advised of his rights, [waived] his rights, and admitted to committing the bank robbery at the McCoy Federal Credit Union that day.”

At the time he was arrested, Brown reportedly told authorities that he was visiting Florida in order to make a movie and he ran out of cash. He also allegedly said that he robbed the bank because “he could not resist the demons,” and that it was the only way he knew how to make money.

Brown had previously been convicted of robbing three banks in the Baltimore area in 2001 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Court records indicate that he was granted compassionate release in late 2020 and began serving his supervised release at that time.

Judge Paul G. Byron, a Barack Obama appointee, set sentencing for April 5.

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