Brandon Lawrence Cooper of Plano was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Friday for the July 2010 robbery of the First National Bank in Plano, Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis announced today in McKinney.
Cooper, 27, held prior convictions in Collin County for injury to a child and assault of a public servant. He received a two-year prison sentence on those cases in 2004.
Cooper was convicted of the bank robbery after a two-day trial that started on Jan. 25. The court then postponed sentencing until last week pending a pre-sentence investigation.
Evidence at the trial showed that Cooper and accomplice Byron Yarbrough, 23, “cased” the Preston Road branch the day before the crime. The men entered the bank the next day wearing masks and brandishing a gun, which was later discovered to be a toy.
The men approached a teller and told her to put all of the money in a bag or she would be shot. According to testimony, the teller complied with the men’s demands because if she did not, she believed she was going to die and never see her 1-year-old son again.
The robbers ran off on foot and escaped to a nearby motel. Witnesses saw them running in the direction of the motel when the red dye pack, a device used by the bank during robberies to mark stolen money, exploded.
After reviewing the previous day’s video footage, Plano police detectives were able to identify Yarbrough as one of the men and tracked his name to a Motel 6 just down the road from the bank. Police found Cooper in the room, along with the stolen money, the toy gun used in the robbery, face masks, gloves and other clothing worn by the men during the robbery.
Police obtained a search warrant for Cooper’s cell phone, which contained images of Cooper holding the stained money from the robbery.
Yarbrough was found in another nearby motel later that day. He pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in June 2011.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Gainer and was presided over in McKinney by State District Court Judge Mark Rusch, who assessed the 35-year sentence.