Man gets 9 years for local robbery

Posted: December 18, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A Frederick County man will serve nine years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to a felony charge stemming from a March bank robbery.

Scott Alexander Wessells, 25, of the 100 block of Ettawah Trail in Shawneeland, pleaded guilty to one felony count of robbery in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Wessells entered the BB&T branch at 7800 Main St. in Middletown on the morning of March 19 and gave a note to a teller stating that he was carrying a bomb, according to previous reports in The Winchester Star.

Wessells demanded all the money in the teller’s top two drawers, and was given $10,264. Three tellers were on duty at the time, but no customers were in the bank.

No one was injured in the robbery, from which police recovered all but $92 of the money.

Authorities found Wessells within 90 minutes of the heist at an apartment complex on Hailey Lane in Strasburg after a witness reported seeing him.

Police received permission from the apartment’s tenant to search the dwelling and found Wessells inside. Officers also found the note he used to demand money in the getaway vehicle, and tests later found his fingerprints on it, according to evidence presented in court by Frederick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ross Spicer.

Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. sentenced Wessells to 20 years in prison with 11 years suspended. He will also have to serve five years of supervised probation when he’s released.

Spicer said after the sentencing that since Wessells has been in jail since the robbery, that time will count toward his nine years.

Spicer, who said the Virginia Department of Corrections will determine where Wessells will serve his time, added that he believes the sentence is appropriate.

“He did display a note that had a threat of violence, in that regard we don’t minimize the seriousness of it and the impact it may have had on the bank employees who were there,” Spicer said. “But we also recognize that he didn’t have a weapon and that does justify some mitigation.”

The maximum penalty for robbery is life.

Front Royal attorney Todd Gilbert, who represented Wessells, declined to comment Tuesday.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com