A Long Beach career criminal was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for robbing a Chase bank branch in Burbank last winter while on probation.
Gregory Lynn Cross, 59, of Long Beach and Compton, also needs to pay $7,800 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.
This was Cross’ fifth federal bank robbery conviction amid a 40-year criminal history that includes burglary, forgery and gang activity, according to U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II who presided over the case.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cross pleaded guilty in April to the unarmed December 13 theft of $3,330 from the Burbank branch at 840 San Fernando Boulevard.
During the hearing, two previous charges of robbery were dismissed— including the December 18 robbing of a Long Beach Chase branch at 3901 Atlantic Avenue of $2,150 and a December 22 robbery from the same Chase branch in Burbank he admitted hitting a week earlier. None of them involved the use of weapons.
In a previous bank case, Wright said he sentenced Cross to a year in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release—during which time the Chase robberies took place.
Wright noted that two years ago, he placed Cross in the federal Supervision to Aid Re-entry program which aims to help ex-offenders make their way back into the community after spending time in federal prison.
Through the Star program, Cross was given “24-hour access” to the court, along with prosecutors and other court personnel, in hopes that the serial robber would immediately come to them if tempted to break the law.
"I personally told him he could walk in the back door of this courtroom if he had a problem,'' Wright said from the bench. "At no time — as he's robbing bank after bank — did he turn to us.''
In a letter to the court, Cross said he was a lifelong drug addict who robbed banks to feed his habit. He said he relapsed prior to the Chase heists last year when he discovered his wife had been cheating on him.
"I understand how the court feels,'' Cross told the judge today. "The resources I had, I appreciated. I lost my way, your honor... I seek the mercy of the court.''
In arguing for a sentence of less than five years, Deputy Federal Public Defender Alyssa D. Bell said her client needs mental health treatment above all.
"He has no impulse control,'' she said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Rhoades agreed that Cross' crack cocaine addiction was the trigger.
"It's so automatic that if there's a relapse, there's a robbery,'' the prosecutor told the court.
Cross was dubbed the “Overweight Bandit” in 2005 for bank robberies in Long Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Manhattan Beach, Cerritos, Westwood, La Habra and Pico Rivera. He was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
In 2013, Cross was arrested again in connection with bank robberies in Manhattan Beach and Cerritos.
He was most recently arrested in January by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and turned over to the FBI, which had issued an arrest warrant.
City News Service contributed to this report.