Two plead guilty in 2008 bank robbery

March 3, 2009 9:36:56 AM PST
A man and his niece pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to robbing a San Francisco bank of more than $76,000 in 2008, while a previously convicted bank robber was indicted the same day for allegedly robbing another bank Feb. 20, federal officials said.

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According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Sefo Sagote, 27, and his 20-year-old niece Angelica Sagote pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of the Pacific Postal Credit Union at 175 Mendell St., located in the city's Bayview district, on Aug. 6, 2008.

Prosecutors said Angelica Sagota drove Sefo Sagote and another man, Elisaro Taito, 26, to the bank just before it opened, and the men pointed black BB guns, replicas of large-caliber weapons, at one of the tellers, forcing her to open the door.

Once inside, the men threatened to shoot tellers and took $76,300 cash from the bank's vault, according to prosecutors. The niece then drove the men away.

San Francisco police and FBI agents arrested the three the same day, but only recovered $36,282, prosecutors said.

Two days earlier, Sefo Sagote had tried to rob the same bank using the BB gun, but tellers dove behind safety glass and he was thwarted, according to prosecutors.

Under the terms of their plea deals, Sefo Sagote faces 11 years and one month in prison and Angelica Sagote faces between three years 10 months and four years nine months in prison. They are to be sentenced June 15.

Taito pleaded guilty in December, and is to be sentenced March 23, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Also Thursday, a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Vincent Anthony Piazza, of New Orleans, for the robbery of a Citibank at 99 Post St. on Feb. 20, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

Piazza had been on supervised release after serving more than six years in prison on six counts of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery, when he allegedly robbed the Citibank of $808, prosecutors said.

He was videotaped by the bank's surveillance cameras and arrested later that day at a hotel in the Financial District, according to prosecutors.

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