An alleged serial bank robber in New York whose repeated heists cast light on a new bail-reform law unexpectedly turned himself into authorities Friday.
Gerod Woodberry walked into the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse and said “I’m Woodberry,” according to the New York Post. “I’m the one that’s been robbing banks.”
He is charged on suspicion for the Jan. 10 robbery of a Chase Bank branch in Brooklyn, the Justice Department said. He is suspected of robbing six other banks altogether in a two-week span that began Dec. 30.
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Woodberry was sprung from police custody last week and robbed the Brooklyn bank within four hours of his release, authorities said.
“THIS IS A ROBBERY BIG BILLS ONLY NO DYE PACKS,” read a hand-written note to the bank teller.
The 42-year-old became the poster child for criticism of a new law effective Jan. 1 that does away with bail in so-called nonviolent crimes. The Post reported Woodberry as saying, “I can’t believe they let me out. “What were they thinking?” upon his release from jail.
Supporters of the law argue it will prevent indigent people who can’t afford bail from being locked up indefinitely for nonviolent crimes. Those released must promise to appear for their court dates.
Police said Woodberry did not possess a gun during his crimes.
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“While we must ensure that all criminal justice systems are open to scrutiny and reform, we must also guard against the outright dismantling of criminal justice systems masquerading as criminal justice reform,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said.
He noted that Woodberry has five convictions in his native South Carolina for strong-arm robberies. He faces up to 20 years in prison and is expected to appear in court Sunday.