San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

A month after he lost his Hays County house in foreclosure, Randall Reed began a series of heists scattered across three Central Texas counties. He didn't kill anyone, but the last of his robberies had deadly consequences nonetheless 

STAFF REPORT

AUSTIN — A former Dripping Springs resident who pled guilty to six robberies over a five-month period last year, including a hold-up of Pioneer Bank’s San Marcos branch, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Reed

Reed

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel this week also ordered Randall David Reed, 52, to pay $32,430 in restitution, the total amount stolen from five banks and a grocery store between February and July 2013. In addition to the robbery charges, Reed pled guilty to brandishing a firearm in the commission of a violent crime and to violating the Hobbs Act, a 1946 federal law that outlaws interference of interstate commerce through robbery or other criminality.

The sentence was announced April 15 by U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, whose office prosecuted the case. Reed pled guilty to the charges in February.

In late January 2013, Reed was evicted from his house at 4050 U.S. 290 West near Dripping Springs after mortgage lender Fannie Mae foreclosed on the two-acre homestead, Hays County court records state. A month later, on Feb. 28, Reed robbed a Randall’s grocery store at 2025 W Ben White Blvd. in Austin, the first in a series of crimes that law enforcement officials describe as escalating in intensity each step.

In his second holdup, Reed walked into Pioneer Bank in San Marcos on March 25, showed the teller a handgun and demanded money. He left with $8,132 and was last seen walking away from the Wonder World Drive shopping center where Pioneer Bank was located at the time. (The bank has since re-located to its own building on Wonder World Drive at Stagecoach Trail.)

In May, Reed robbed two more Austin banks, a Prosperity Bank branch at 12730 Research Blvd. and a Northstar Bank branch at 1515 W 35th St. On July 3, he robbed Broadway Bank’s San Pedro Banking Center at 13432 U.S. 281 in San Antonio.

His crime spree came to end on July 26 when he robbed a third Austin financial institution, a few doors down from the Northstar bank he’d visited just two months prior. In what law enforcement officials describe as his most aggressive heist, Reed brandished a gun and tied up employees at a Benchmark Bank branch at 1508 W 35th St. in central Austin. He made off with $13,866, his most lucrative robbery of the set.

Reed was arrest about two month later in Hays County following an multi-agency probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Austin, San Marcos and San Antonio police departments.

With an average of 425 bank robberies a year in Texas between 2006 and 2011 — the most recent FBI statistics available — Reed’s five bank robberies would be of fleeting noteworthiness were it not for an unforeseen spinoff of Reed’s last bank job. Austin law enforcement and community leaders are still dealing with the death of a man who police sources have suggested is not exactly an innocent bystander but who nevertheless found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Late in the afternoon of July 26 — hours after Reed was long gone from the crime scene at Benchmark Bank — Larry Eugene Jackson Jr., 32, pulled on the locked doors of the bank to find it was closed for the ongoing robbery investigation

“Jackson, who had a previous forgery conviction in Williamson County from 2003 but wasn’t a suspect in the bank robbery, walked away and then returned a minute later and tried to open the door again,” the Austin American-Statesman reported.

A bank manager went outside to speak to Jackson, and, when she returned, told [Austin police Det. Charles] Kleinert that he had attempted to use the name of a bank customer who employees knew was not him, police said.

Police have said that Jackson fled after talking to Kleinert for a few minutes and that the detective got a ride from a passerby in his effort to find Jackson. The two men then got into a struggle under a nearby bridge where Jackson was shot.

Several sources [said] that during an interview with internal affairs investigators, Kleinert said he had drawn his weapon to try to subdue Jackson, lost his balance and fell during a struggle. A single round accidentally went off, and Jackson was shot in the back of the neck.

Jackson died from the bullet. The incident has inflamed suspicions — both organic and orchestrated — about the Austin Police Department’s use of sometimes deadly force on suspects. A Travis County grand jury is currently investigating Kleinert, who retired from the department in October.

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