U.S. District Court

34 month sentence for recidivist San Francisco bank robber

A man was sentenced to 34 months’ imprisonment today for robbing a bank in San Francisco only weeks after being released from prison for robbing six other city banks, three of which he robbed while on bail for robbing two of the others, and those two being robbed while he was on bail for robbing the first.

Christian Plummer gave a “very frightened” Wells Fargo teller a note saying her life depended on following his instructions in the December 2022 heist. He made off with more than $3,000.  

Plummer, 26, had previously been convicted of entering banks in the Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, and Civic Center neighborhoods and telling bank staff that he would shoot them in the face or detonate a bomb if his instructions were not followed.  

“It’s a very serious crime and one that has been repeated,” observed U.S. District Judge Edward Chen who determined that Plummer’s mental health diagnoses warranted a lesser sentence than that recommended by prosecutors.  

Plummer, whose family live in New Jersey, travelled to San Francisco from the Garden State in 2020, where he almost immediately ended up homeless and using methamphetamine.

Plummer hit the Wells Fargo branch at the junction of Geary Boulevard and Arguello Boulevard just before lunchtime on December 30, 2022.  

He handed the teller a note demanding $100 bills and informing her that her life depended on her complying with his demands. Escaping with $3,100, he was apprehended by police by virtue of a tracking device contained within the stolen money.  

Plummer had been released on November 28, 2022 after serving a notional sentence of 24 months’ imprisonment for robbing six other San Francisco banks.  

On February 4 & 5, 2021 he robbed a Golden One Credit Union on Golden Gate Avenue and a Chase Bank on Van Ness Avenue. He was arrested by SFPD and bailed.  

Then on March 16, 2021 he robbed a Wells Fargo bank of Fillmore Street where he threatened to “detonate myself or shoot someone”. He was arrested again but, on September 22 2021 he was released again on bail.  

Plummer then proceeded to rob a Chase Bank on Polk Street on October 1, 2021, Citibank on Van Ness on October 4, 2021, and another Citibank on Post Street on October 7, 2021. He was arrested later on October 7 by SFPD officers in his tent on Elm Street.

Plummer’s modus operandi during those robberies was to enter the bank masked and present a note to tellers that threatened he would shoot them in the face or detonate a bomb if his instructions were not followed.  

Tellers reported fearing that they would be hurt or killed during the robberies.  

Plummer stole $7,900 in total during his robbery spree. He was ultimately sentenced to a notional 24 months imprisonment for those crimes in federal court and was released on November 28, 2022.

At today’s hearing federal public defender Angela Chuang told the court that there had been a plan for Plummer’s release in November 2022 that would have seen him enter a residential program with structured support.  

However, she explained, because her client benefited from additional custody credits, for time he had already served, of which the defense was unaware, he was released unexpectedly early and the support was not yet in place.  

He was released without a place to go and with no resources and so almost immediately turned back to crime, she said.  

Plummer robbed the Wells Fargo at 3624 Geary Boulevard shortly thereafter.  

“It was a bad decision and I am ashamed that I did that and that I scared people,” Plummer told the court, “I know that I can be so much better and I need help.”

“It’s a very serious crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Garbers told the court, “and luckily – the teller was traumatized, definitely – nothing more happened but something more could definitely have happened.”  

She requested the court hand down a 46 month sentence.

Sentencing Plummer, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen noted that “it’s a very serious crime and one that has been repeated.”  

“Any kind of a death threat against a bank teller…can change their life and cause a lot of distress, so obviously it’s a very serious crime and one that has been repeated,” he said.

“On the other hand there are mitigating factors not the least of which pertain to Mr Plummer’s emotional and mental health issues.”  

Judge Chen ultimately determined that a 34 month sentence was appropriate. Plummer also received 12 months imprisonment – to run concurrently – for violating his terms of supervised release from his earlier conviction.  

“If it happens again there is not going to be the same kind of leniency,” he warned.  

The judge agreed to a defense request to recommend that Plummer serve his sentence at a prison in New Jersey so that he could be close to family support.

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