Bank robber pleads guilty in deal with prosecutors

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Berryville man who allegedly robbed a Eureka Springs back in October 2016 entered a guilty plea last week as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

Hunter Cody Chafin pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery on Wednesday, March 8, in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas said Chafin will be sentenced sometime in the next two to four months.

The written plea agreement filed with the court does not include a specific sentencing recommendation from prosecutors. The maximum penalties include 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Chafin was arrested in Benton County on Oct. 14, 2016, hours after he allegedly robbed a First National Bank of North Arkansas branch on Greenwood Hollow Road, off Highway 23 South in Eureka Springs.

A Bentonville police officer arrested Chafin shortly after Chafin purchased a motorcycle from the officer’s son, according to the plea agreement.

The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. on Oct. 14, when Chafin entered the bank. According to a police affidavit, Chafin approached a teller and asked if his accounts were open before going outside to wait on a taxi.

When the taxi arrived, Chafin went back inside the bank and handed the teller an envelope that said he had a gun and asked for $50 and $100 bills only.

The teller gave Chafin $3,350 and he took the money and the note and left in the taxi. He told the taxi driver his name and asked her to take him to an address in Bentonville.

According to the plea agreement, Chafin told the taxi driver: “She didn’t even count the money.”

When the taxi arrived at the address in Bentonville, Chafin paid the driver $150. He then paid the resident there $2,900 for a motorcycle. The seller’s father was a Bentonville police officer and had just arrived home from work in uniform driving his marked patrol car, according to the plea agreement.

Investigators in Eureka Springs were able to determine where the taxi dropped Chafin off, and alerted police in Bentonville shortly after Chafin left the residence, the plea agreement says. The officer whose son sold Chafin the motorcycle then pulled Chafin over and arrested him.

When Chafin was taken into custody, a band used to wrap around stacks of bills with the notation “$1,000” was found in his coat pocket, the plea agreement says. Also found on Chafin was the demand note he had given the bank teller, and $200 in cash.

After being transported back to Eureka Springs, Chafin admitted to investigators that he robbed the bank, the plea agreement says. Investigators also found a second demand note in his pocket.

According to the plea agreement, Chafin told investigators that he had been planning the robbery for about a week and had researched online how to rob a bank and not get caught.

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