Bank robber sentenced: BV man who fled bank in taxi gets 18 months

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Berryville man who robbed a Eureka Springs bank and then fled in a taxi in October 2016 was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison, with credit for nine months served in a county facility.

U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III sentenced Hunter Cody Chafin, 20, during a hearing at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith. He will have to serve nine months in a federal facility, with two years of supervised probation after his release from prison.

Holmes ordered Chafin to obtain a GED and to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment at the discretion of probation officials. Chafin also was ordered to pay a $100 assessment fee and $150 in restitution to Abundant Taxi.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Chafin pleaded guilty in March to one count of bank robbery.

Chafin was arrested in Benton County on Oct. 14, 2016, less than two hours after he allegedly robbed a First National Bank of North Arkansas branch on Greenwood Hollow Road, off Highway 23 South in Eureka Springs.

A Bentonville police officer arrested Chafin shortly after Chafin purchased a motorcycle from the officer’s son, according to the plea agreement.

The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2016, when Chafin entered the bank. According to a police affidavit, Chafin

approached a teller and asked if his accounts were open before going outside to wait on a taxi.

When the taxi arrived, Chafin went back inside the bank and handed the teller an envelope that said he had a gun and asked for $50 and $100 bills only.

The teller gave Chafin $3,350 and he took the money and the note and left in the taxi. He told the taxi driver his name and asked her to take him to an address in Bentonville.

When the taxi arrived at the address in Bentonville, Chafin paid the driver $150. He then paid the resident there $2,900 for a motorcycle. The seller’s father was a Bentonville police officer and had just arrived home from work in uniform driving his marked patrol car, according to the plea agreement.

Investigators in Eureka Springs were able to determine where the taxi dropped Chafin off, and alerted police in Bentonville shortly after Chafin left the residence, the plea agreement says. The officer whose son sold Chafin the motorcycle then pulled Chafin over and arrested him.

When Chafin was taken into custody, a band used to wrap around stacks of bills with the notation “$1,000” was found in his coat pocket, the plea agreement says. Also found on Chafin was the demand note he had given the bank teller, and $200 in cash.

After being transported back to Eureka Springs, Chafin admitted to investigators that he robbed the bank, the plea agreement says. Investigators also found a second demand note in his pocket.

According to the plea agreement, Chafin told investigators that he had been planning the robbery for about a week and had researched online how to rob a bank and not get caught.

Chafin’s attorney, assistant federal public defender James B. Pierce, filed a memorandum on July 3 asking for a lenient sentence. Pierce’s memo describes Chafin’s “tragic childhood.” Chafin’s biological mother used methamphetamines while she was pregnant with Chafin and his father was a paranoid schizophrenic who was physically abusive, according to the memorandum, which also describes a history of substance abuse, attention deficit disorder, mood disorder and disruptive behavior disorder for Chafin.

No evidence was presented to indicate that Chafin actually had a weapon during the robbery.

Chafin, who had been held at the Sebastian County jail, was transferred into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing.

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