Federal charges filed for string of bank robberies last year

Christian LeBlanc, left, and Elizabeth Kenneally, right

PHILADELPHIA >> Two people were indicted on federal charges this week in connection to a string of bank robberies late last year in Chester and Montgomery counties, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Christian (also known as Christopher) Thomas LeBlanc, 40, and Elizabeth Lynn Kenneally, 25, were arrested at a Delaware motel last November while they were allegedly hiding out after a string of bank robberies in the West Chester area. On Thursday federal prosecutors charged the couple for three separate robberies that struck grocery store bank branches over a one-week period last fall.

The pair allegedly stole $4,891.73 during the three robberies, according to court documents. Prosecutors referred to the crimes as “note-job” robberies, as LeBlanc allegedly used handwritten notes to demand money from tellers during the robberies.

The first robbery took place on Oct. 28 in Audubon after LeBlanc, of Phoenixville, allegedly walked into a Citizens Bank branch in the 2600 block of Egypt Road. Prosecutors said LeBlanc handed the teller a note that demanded $100 and $50 bills and allegedly threatened to shoot the teller when he said she was moving too slow.

Despite the threat no weapon was ever displayed, according to court documents.

After the robbery police obtained several high-quality images of the suspect from the bank’s surveillance cameras. Later a Lower Providence detective entered the images into a facial recognition software program that returned results naming LeBlanc as a possible match.

After the robbery LeBlanc’s father, Ted LeBlanc, former mayor of Norristown, told investigators that his son was not planning to turn himself in for two earlier retail thefts. Ted LeBlanc reportedly told investigators that both his son and Kenneally were drug users and would likely be driving in her red Saturn sedan.

In the court documents federal prosecutors noted that the United States Attorney’s Office had once prosecuted Ted LeBlanc in a municipal corruption case while he was the mayor of Norristown.

Three days after the Audubon robbery, the younger LeBlanc allegedly robbed a PNC Bank branch inside a Giant Food store in the 1300 block of Boot Road in East Goshen, according to court documents. LeBlanc again handed the teller a note demanding large bills and threatened to shoot the victim, court documents said.

“Hurry up, I’m facing life, I’m serious,” LeBlanc allegedly said to the teller, according to the documents.

The same day a Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department detective showed the teller a photo array of eight potential suspects. The teller selected LeBlanc, according to court documents.

Several days later, on Nov. 4, LeBlanc allegedly struck again at a Citizens Bank branch inside the Acme grocery store in the 900 block of Paoli Pike. Again, LeBlanc allegedly handed the teller a note that demanded large bills and contained a threat of “you got 10 seconds or I shoot you in the face,” court documents said.

The same night, an FBI agent tracked the couple to a Super 8 Motel in New Castle, Delaware. After positively identifying the pair as guests, the Delaware State Police moved in and placed LeBlanc under arrest on an active warrant for one of the earlier robberies. Kenneally, of Bristol, was not arrested but agreed to go to the police barracks for an interview, the documents said.

Police found over $2,000 in cash in LeBlanc’s possession during the arrest, according to court documents.

Both LeBlanc and Kenneally provided investigators with detailed recorded confessions after their arrest, court documents said. During the interview Kenneally admitted to acting as the getaway driver during the three robberies and said she helped LeBlanc research the locations beforehand.

LeBlanc allegedly admitted to the three bank robberies and to the earlier retail thefts in Chester and Montgomery counties, the documents said.

Federal prosecutors said LeBlanc and Kenneally both face a maximum of 60 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $750,000 fine.

Kenneally is currently held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility while LeBlanc is held at the State Correctional Facility at Graterford.

Follow Digital First staff writer Michael N. Price on Twitter @MikePriceWrites and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/michaelnprice.

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