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Passaic County Man Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison for Two Armed Bank Robberies

Passaic County

By: Yuritza Arroyo

Federal authorities announced that a Passaic County man was sentenced to 276 months in prison for his role as the gunman in two armed bank robberies.

According to federal officials, Jose Soto, 53, of Passaic, was previously convicted of two bank robberies, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and brandishing a firearm during those robberies following a six-day jury trial, the sentence imposed on April 27 in Newark federal court.

Federal officials stated that on Feb. 6, 2020, Soto and his conspirator, while wearing face coverings and holding umbrellas, entered the PNC Bank in Passaic.

Soto pointed a silver and black handgun at customers and employees and began ordering everyone down on the floor. His conspirator entered the bank and jumped over the teller counter, demanding that the teller turn over all cash in the drawers. Soto and his conspirator took approximately $35,000 from the PNC Bank.

According to officials, on Feb. 27, 2020, Soto and the same conspirator entered the Valley Bank in Little Falls. Soto again pointed a silver and black gun at customers and employees, and his conspirator jumped over the teller counter and began rifling through various drawers.

Soto and his conspirator, at gunpoint, forced the bank employees to open the vault and began retrieving cash from the bank vault.

They then forced all employees and customers into the bank vault and fled through the rear door of the Valley Bank. Soto and his conspirator took approximately $45,000 from the Valley Bank.

In addition to the prison term, Soto was sentenced to three years of supervised release.