In an article dated Monday July 23, 2012, from the Aurora Beacon, a man has entered a guilty plea in which he is accused of robbing two area banks, one in Aurora and another in nearby Oswego. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
According to court documents, Joseph Prince, of the 1200 block of Pearl Street, pleaded guilty this week to bank robbery as well as conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Prince and an accomplice, Mason Johnson, were detained and arrested for robbing the TCF bank located at 2540 Route 30 in the town of Oswego. In addition, Prince has plead guilty to robbing the TCF bank at 1147 North Eola Road in Aurora. In the fall of 2010, Johnson and Prince began planning to rob the banks. The first robbery occurred on December 20, 2010, and the second robbery occurred on January 16, 2011.
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Pursuant to information in court documents, on December 20, 2010, Joseph Prince and Mason Johnson entered the first bank in Oswego where Prince gave a note to the teller stating “Give me all the money. No dye packs. Thank you.” Upon receiving the note from Prince, the teller handed $565 to the men. Prince and Johnson quickly fled with the money. In the second robbery which happened on January 16, 2011, Prince and Johnson entered the a bank in Aurora where Prince similarly handed a note to the teller. With different wording the note read; “Give me $5,000. Thank you.” According to the records, Prince handed the note to the teller while Johnson stood by. Unfortunately for the duo, this robbery would be their demise. The teller handed Prince and Johnson $959, and hidden within the sum of money was a sensor. They then left the bank, ran to a waiting car and pink smoke began to billow from within Prince’s pocket. A third man who had driven the pair to the bank, and who is not being charged in relation to the crimes, demanded that Prince and Johnson immediately get out of his car.
Two months after the second robbery occurred Joseph Prince met with police. Upon viewing photos from the robbery that occurred in Aurora, Prince admitted his guilt stating, “You all got me, I ain’t gonna lie. The money exploded, and there was nothing that we could do with it,” His sentencing is set for September 14. In addition to the robberies, Prince has a criminal history which includes prison time for beating a pregnant woman. With his past criminal history and the bank robberies, Joseph Prince is facing 13 to 15 years behind bars.
Mason Johnson was arrested on March 8, 2011, in an unrelated incident. In addition to his role in the robberies with Prince, Johnson is being charged with an unrelated bank robbery which happened on December 22, 2010 at another TCF bank on Lake Street in Aurora. That case is pending.