A federal jury Wednesday convicted a 36-year-old man on two counts of bank robbery after he was arrested with help from a new high-tech tracking device stashed inside the loot.
The jury sitting in Santa Ana found Joseph Dion McLeod guilty of stealing more than $3,900 in an armed holdup of Pacific First Bank in San Bernardino on Aug. 23 of last year and netting $660 in a Sept. 21, unarmed robbery of the Bank of America branch on Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove.
Under federal sentencing guidelines for career criminals, McLeod, who has previously been convicted of three felonies and a misdemeanor, could face 17 1/2 to 45 years in prison, his attorney, H. Dean Steward, said.
U.S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler is scheduled to sentence McLeod on March 25.
At the Bank of America, McLeod was given a stack of $1 bills that contained the tracking device, essentially a tiny silent “beeper.” A Garden Grove police officer picked up the signal, tracked down McLeod’s getaway car, arrested him and ultimately recovered the money.
While law enforcement officials have praised the new tracking system, authorities, including the FBI, have attempted to keep its workings secret and detailed testimony about the device was not presented to jurors.