Feds: New Jersey man charged in 14 bank robberies hit Cortland County store

HARRISBURG, P.A. – A New Jersey man facing federal charges in connection with 14 bank robberies has been linked to the robbery of an antique store in the village of Marathon in 2013.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania filed charges against Francis Simmons, 41, of Warren, New Jersey, on June 29. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

An investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies links Simmons to the robbery of an antique store in Marathon, according to Lt. Todd Caufield with the Cortland County Sheriff's Department.

francis simmons

Francis Simmons (photo provided by Cortland County Sheriff's Department)

On Nov. 8, 2013, Cortland County Sheriff's deputies responded to a reported armed robbery at the Riverbend Antique Center on Route 11 in Marathon.

A store employee told investigators that a man entered the store at around 12 p.m. and displayed a handgun, demanding jewelry that was locked in a display case.

Investigators followed up with several leads and discovered that Simmons had robbed another another antique store in a small town near Milton, P.A. They obtained a composite sketch of the suspect and a description of his vehicle, but were unable to locate him.

The Marathon robbery turned out to be the second in a long line of robberies spanning several different states across the Northeast.

Simmons would go on to rob a dozen banks before being arrested on Interstate 70 by a Maryland state trooper in connection with a bank robbery in Hagerstown, M.D.

Simmons has been connected to bank robberies in the following places in Pennsylvania: Lewisburg, Fogelsville, Dillsburg, Allentown, Wyomissing, Tannersville, Lancaster, Columbia, Hellertown and Hanover.  He was also linked to a bank robbery in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Investigators have not been able to recover any of the items stolen in the Marathon robbery, according to Lt. Caufield. The jewelry was valued in the thousands of dollars.


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