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Associated Press , Published August 26 2013

Texas man gets 11 years for ND bank robbery

BISMARCK — A Texas man was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison for his part in a bank robbery in the western North Dakota town of New England.

Johnner Ward Jr. received a four-year sentence from U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland for a bank robbery charge. After that term, he will serve seven years for use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, said U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon.

Ward, 29, of Abilene, Texas, pleaded guilty to both counts in February. He also must pay more than $4,200 in restitution and fees.

Jurors convicted Ward's accomplice, 19-year-old Colt Schneider of Rapid City, S.D., on Thursday for his role in the bank holdup.

The two men wore black ski masks and carried guns when they entered American Bank Center in New England on Oct. 28 and ran away after grabbing money from a bank employee, authorities said.

Investigators learned that a man matching the physical characteristics of one of the bank robbers had stopped at a gas station in New England to buy gas. Law enforcement officers distributed a surveillance photo and a Rapid City detective recognized the man as Schneider, prosecutors said. The investigation then led to Ward.

Ward was arrested Nov. 2 in Midland, Texas, and Schneider was picked up Nov. 10 in Sarasota, Fla.

They were employed by a Rapid City construction company and had worked on a job in New England a few months before the robbery.

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