‘Bonnie And Clyde’ Couple Sentenced For Three Bank Robberies

January 31, 2011

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A couple described by police as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde has been sentenced to prison for three bank robberies last year — including one in Flomaton.

Rhianna Marie Jones, 31, of California, and Jerry Hover Tinsley, 31, of  North Carolina, have admitted in federal court that they robbed banks in Flomaton, East Brewton and Florala during a March, 2010, crime spree.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose sentenced Jones to three years and 10 months in federal prison. Tinsley was sentenced to six years and five months behind bars, and his supervised release was revoked on a federal gun charge, adding two years to his term. Tinsley received the longer sentence due to his previous criminal history.

According to testimony, the couple purposely used no weapons and did not make any threats during any of the robberies, hoping to avoid longer jail terms if apprehended.

unitedflom22.jpgTheir total take from the three 2010 robberies was just over $9,500 — $4,963 from two tellers at United Bank in Flomaton on March 8, another $2,840 in cash from one teller at BankTrust in East Brewton and $1,700 from a Wachovia Bank in Florala, Ala.

During the Flomaton robbery, Tinsley and Jones both presented tellers with demand notes which stated “this is a robbery, place all $100s, $50s, $20s on the counter no alarm no die packs no tracers”, according to federal court documents. A demand note with the same wording was presented during the East Brewton robbery. They did not display a weapon during any of the robberies.

Authorities said Tinsley and Jones picked banks along the state line because they believed Alabama authorities could not pursue them into Florida.  Authorities believe in each robbery, the pair fled to Florida immediately after the holdups — including March 8 when they fled into North Escambia following the Flomaton robbery.

The pair was arrested by federal agents and local law enforcement after a short chase from a Motel 6 in Destin, Florida, March 18. The arrest was reportedly the result of a tip phoned into the Florala (Ala.) Police Department concerning a MySpace photo.

banksuspects.jpgThe Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Warrants Unit was assisting the FBI from Mobile in the hunt for Tinsley and Jones. They determined that they were staying in the Motel 6 located at 405 Harbor Boulevard in Destin. In addition to being suspects in the bank robberies, authorities knew Jones was wanted on felony charges out of Pinellas County, Florida, and Tinsley was suspected of being in violation of his probation.

At 11:14 p.m. March 18, the pair was seen leaving the Motel 6 in a gold color 2004 Chevrolet Impala with a Florida tag.  Deputies attempted a traffic stop in the parking lot, but Tinsley and Jones fled westbound on Harbor Boulevard, a four lane divided highway, at a high rate of speed, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

“Tinsley, who was identified as the driver, was passing around and between cars to get away,” according to Okaloosa Deputy Todd Watkins. Speeds in the chase, according to Watkins, reach in excess of 90 mph. Tinsley, who is known by the street name “Prison Ink” turned onto two-lane roads, and the chase continued over 90 mph until he turned onto the dead end Sea Hills Drive. The  total distance of the chase was about 1.8 miles.

While several units pursued the vehicle down the dead end street, Deputy Watkins went to an adjacent street where he observed the duo flee on foot. He was able to take Tinsley into custody, while Jones fled into a wooded area. She was located a short time later hiding in some brush in a fenced in yard.

Pictured top: Rhianna Marie Jones and Jerry Hover Tinsley pass holdup notes at the United Bank in Flomaton on March 8, 2010. Pictured top inset:  Flomaton Police investigate the robbery of the United Bank on Sidney Manning Boulevard. Pictured below: Mug shots of Jones and Tinsley after their arrests in Okaloosa County. NorthEscambia.com and courtesy photos, click to enlarge.

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Comments

9 Responses to “‘Bonnie And Clyde’ Couple Sentenced For Three Bank Robberies”

  1. dick tracy on January 31st, 2011 10:38 pm

    Bonnie & Clyde were much smarter & alot better looking………

  2. Bobby on January 31st, 2011 4:43 pm

    That was a grossly short sentence. Should have been a decade per bank for both.

  3. Gembeaux on January 31st, 2011 9:22 am

    Just goes to show that not all goobers come from the deep South!

  4. FED UP on January 31st, 2011 8:10 am

    I hardly think what they got will give them a live of luxury.
    They should have gotten more time in my estimation but it hardly makes it worth
    while to give up 3 and 5 years of your life. In that amount of time they could have
    made more money working at Mickey D’s or Wally World.
    They will have a record for the rest of their lives and even when they
    are checked for a speeding ticket police and locals in the know will know what
    they have done.
    No folk hero here/no robinhood.
    JUST ANOTHER COUPLE OF IDIOT KIDS WHO ARE LAZY WHO HAVE SOLD THEMSELVES SHORT OF LIFE FOR A FEW MEASLY ILL GOTTEN THOUSAND AND WHO WILL PAY IN SOME WAYS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
    IF YOU THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY GOT AS APOSED TO HOW MANY
    YEARS THEY SURE DON’T THINK MUCH OF THEMSELVES.
    THEIR MOTHERS MUST BE VERY PROUD RIGHT NOW.
    THEIR WHOLE FAMILY MUST BE VERY PROUD.

  5. hey! on January 31st, 2011 7:54 am

    Drugs!!!

    No Excuse!!!

  6. Becky on January 31st, 2011 7:28 am

    do they have to pay back the money upon their release? If not, it almost makes it worth the risk to rob banks – spend a little time living at the State’s espense and then have a life of luxury waiting for you after your release! I can’t believe the injustice in this sentence!!

  7. Robert on January 31st, 2011 7:09 am

    What a joke!! Thats really all I can say!

  8. Sandra on January 31st, 2011 5:39 am

    3 years and 6 years ? In a Federal facility? No wonder criminals dont worry about the consequences of their actions. Sheeesh

  9. OMRBH on January 31st, 2011 2:18 am

    The original Bonnie and Clyde were said to have given bank robbers a bad name because of the small amounts of money they actually stole. Along come these bottom feeders and net a measley $9500 in 3 robberies.
    Now they can spend a few years with Bubba and Bis Sista





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