Iowa man admits to $35,000 armed Secaucus bank robbery five years ago

An Iowa man admitted to brandishing a firearm while robbing a Bank of America branch in Secaucus, New Jersey, in January 2017.

Jose Luis Martinez, 32, pleaded guilty on Sept. 13, 2022, before U.S. District Judge John M. Vazquez in Newark federal court to a two-count indictment charging him with armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a bank robbery.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger and documents filed in court, Martinez walked into a bank in Secaucus and pointed a handgun at a bank employee while demanding cash on Jan. 5, 2017.

Martinez told the bank employee that he would shoot her and other customers if the employee did not comply.

Once the teller turned over $35,000 in cash, Martinez took money and fled from the bank.

Contemporary reports at the time said the suspect walked into the bank on Plaza Drive near Harmon Meadow Boulevard around 5 p.m. and displayed a handgun, approached the teller and demanded money.

He fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money, but it’s was not immediately known how or to where he fled. The Secaucus Police Department and FBI asked for the public’s help finding the armed robber.

The armed bank robbery count carries a maximum potential penalty of 25 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.

The brandishing a firearm count carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

Sentencing for Martinez is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2022.

Martinez was arrested in connection with a string of 2017 robberies that hit seven shops in El Paso, Texas, said police officials.

Martinez allegedly used a knife in the first six robberies, then he used a gasoline container to threaten to burn down a check-cashing shop during the final robbery on Oct. 8, 2017.

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