A “drug-fueled crime spree” that included robbing eight banks and business in the Philadelphia area landed a man in prison for nearly a decade, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced.
Gerald Griffith, also known as “Jerry Porecca,” was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison for his crimes, as well as three years of supervised release.
Griffith pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery, two counts of armed bank robbery, and four counts of Hobbs Act robbery during a hearing in December 2019.
From July to December 2018, he robbed, or attempted to rob four separate banks, officials said. He also robbed four convenience or grocery stores in Philadelphia.
On July 9, 2018, he attempted to rob a bank while threatening to blow up the building. Ten minutes later, he robbed another bank, again using verbal threats.
In August, he moved on to armed bank robbery, committing two in two days. During these robberies, bank tellers said he had a long, silver handgun. He threatened them not to press “any buttons,” demanding that they give him “hundreds.”
“The complete disregard that this defendant displayed for the safety of others over such a sustained period of time is chilling,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.
“He terrorized a large swath of this city for months, affecting dozens of people who are now living with the repercussions of having been in the wrong place at the wrong time: working in or patronizing businesses that Griffith decided to target. “
She concluded her statement by saying, “The streets of Philadelphia are safer now that the defendant will be in prison for nearly a decade.”