Maryville woman facing federal charges in ‘Bluetooth Bandit’ bank robberies

Regional News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Maryville woman and her brother have been indicted on federal charges alleging they robbed banks in Tennessee and North Carolina late last year.

Charles Pingley, 52, of North Carolina, and his sister, Loretta Johnson, 50, of Maryville, Tennessee, were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on February 17, 2021, for one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Robbery and two counts of Bank Robbery.

Pingley and Johnson allegedly conspired to rob banks in North Carolina and Tennessee between October and December of 2020. The indictment alleges the pair robbed the Foothills Federal Credit Union in Lenoir City on Nov. 5, taking over $9,000 in cash. It also alleges the two robbed the Simmons Bank in Vonore of over $22,000 in cash on Nov. 22.

The two are also alleged to have stolen over $15,000 from the First Citizen Bank in Carolina Beach in North Carolina on Oct. 6.

The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Knoxville Division, Carolina Beach Police Department, North Carolina, Lenoir City Police Department, Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, Dunn Police Department, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office and the Vonore Police Department.

If convicted for the bank robberies, the defendants face up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, a term of supervised release of up to three years, any applicable forfeiture, and a $100 special assessment for each count of bank robbery. If convicted of the conspiracy to commit bank robbery charge, the defendants face up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, one year of supervised release, and $100 special assessment.

The case has been set for trial on April 27, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

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