By Kathy Jefcoats
ATLANTA — A College Park man was one of five defendants sentenced to federal prison for their roles in an attempted armed bank robbery and subsequent firing of a weapon at officers, said authorities Thursday.
Rashad Rogers, 21, of College Park, was sentenced to 13 years, 10 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Rogers was sentenced for attempted bank robbery and related gun charges after pleading guilty.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Rogers was part of a robbery crew recruited by Clifford Durham Jr., 39, of Conyers, and his son, Clifford DeAngelo Jackson, 23, of Stone Mountain.
Durham and Jackson were charged with robbing a small, family-owned restaurant in downtown Stone Mountain in November 2010 and attempting to rob a Wells Fargo Bank on Clairmont Road in DeKalb County in April 2011. Durham and Jackson planned and executed each robbery and conspired with a different group of individuals on each occasion, said Yates.
For the November 2010 robbery, Jackson enlisted the help of co-conspirator Theodore Spencer, 25, of Baltimore. Spencer worked at the business. Jackson and Spencer planned the robbery, and Jackson recruited Durham to execute it, she said. During the robbery, Durham shot the restaurant owner's son, who avoided more serious injuries by running underneath a food preparation table and out the restaurant's front door.
Jackson and Durham’s involvement was fully discovered after they attempted to commit a second robbery in April 2011, said Yates.
"Durham planned to rob a Wells Fargo bank and recruited his son, Jackson, to participate in the crime," she said.
Durham also brought co-defendants Rogers and Mark Zanders, 22, of Stone Mountain, into the scheme. During that robbery attempt, Jackson, Rogers and Zanders entered the bank branch brandishing guns and ordered all of the customers to the ground. The bank employees refused to allow the robbers access to the glass-enclosed teller line, so they left the bank without any money and fled with Durham, who was the getaway driver, said Yates.
A short distance away from the bank, a DeKalb County police officer found the defendants at a busy intersection during rush hour traffic. When the officer tried to apprehend the robbers, one of them fired a shot through the car window, endangering the lives of the officer and bystanders who were nearby, she said. The defendants managed to elude law enforcement that day but were later caught.
Yates said armed robberies continue to be a threat against businesses.
“While violent crime rates have declined, armed robberies continue to be a threat to public safety, particularly when the crimes target thriving businesses," she said. "Family-owned businesses are particularly vulnerable to the whims of an offender who is determined to take hard-earned profits for his own financial gain."
Durham was sentenced to 50 years, eight months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Durham was convicted of the commercial robbery and related gun charges after an Aug. 2 trial and was convicted of the attempted bank robbery and related gun charges after pleading guilty.
Jackson was sentenced to 16 years, two months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Jackson was convicted of the commercial robbery charge on Aug. 2 after a trial. He also pleaded guilty to attempted bank robbery and related gun charges.
Zanders was sentenced to nine years, eight months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Zanders pleaded guilty to attempted bank robbery and related gun charges.
Spencer was sentenced to six years, 10 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Spencer pleaded guilty to using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to the commercial robbery.