Man Pleads Guilty to Bizarre Fake Bomb Bank Robbery - NECN
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Man Pleads Guilty to Bizarre Fake Bomb Bank Robbery

Man Sentenced in Bizarre Fake Bomb Bank Robbery in New Britain

(Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017)

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for a home invasion and botched robbery that ended with a fake bomb strapped to an executive at a New Britain, Connecticut, bank in 2015.

Michael Benanti, 45, of Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Tuesday to four life sentences and an additional 155 years after being convicted for involvement in a violent bank extortion and robbery spree that spanned four states.

He was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed bank extortion, two counts of attempted armed bank extortion, one count of armed bank extortion, three counts of carjacking, three counts of kidnapping, three counts of being a previously-convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and 10 counts of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence

The crime happened on Feb. 23, 2015, when two masked men, Benanti and Brian Withman, of Maine, broke into the Bristol home of a 46-year-old Matthew Yussman, a credit union manager, strapped a fake explosive device to him and tied his mom to a bed, authorities said.

Police said the intruders demanded Yussman drive them to Achieve Financial Credit Union in New Britain and empty the vault, but the suspects eventually fled with nothing.

Yussman's mother described finding her son face-down in the garage at their Bristol home with his hands tied and said she overheard two assailants saying they owed money and would kill Yussman and his mother if they didn't pay up.

Shortly after the incident, FBI started to investigate the case.

Tennessee investigators said Withman and Benanti committed similar crimes in their state: multiple attempts to extort money from federal credit union employees by taking family members hostage.

Withman pleaded guilty in March 2016 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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