Marbra Sentenced in String of Area Bank Robberies

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Kevin Murphy

MADISON–A 19-year-old Madison man who robbed two Middleton banks at gunpoint during and nine bank robbery spree last year, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 11 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $49,582.

Kiefah A. Marbra pled guilty earlier this year in connection with the Feb. 19, 2018 robbery of Associated Bank on Allen Blvd. and the Feb. 22, 2018 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank on University Ave.

Marbra was indicted last May with his uncle, Jonathan Thompson, 30, of Madison, and Robert Minette, 31, of Shakopee, MN. 

Thompson was considered the leader of the robbery spree. He selected the banks, sent either Marbra or Minette in to hold them up and drove the getaway car back to his apartment where the proceeds were divided up.

Minette held up only the first two banks, located on Madison’s east side. He pleaded guilty to robbery charges and was sentenced last month to nine years in prison.

Thompson went to trial in January and was convicted on 10 robbery charges and brandishing a weapon. He faces maximum penalties of 20 years on each robbery conviction and seven years consecutive on the fire arm charges.

He is to be sentenced on April 24.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan told District Judge William Conley that Thompson was a “cynical, manipulative uncle” who involved Marbra in series of “violent and dangerous” robberies that “shocked the community.”

Marbra entered the banks, pointed a handgun at a teller and demanded money before fleeing, Stephan said.

“He was truly a serial bank robber,” Stephan said.

The three men agreed that if any were caught, they would take the fall for the other two. 

Authorities believed that Marbra was “set up to take the fall,” Conley said.

While none of the victim tellers or their employers wanted to repeat in a victim impact statement of what they went through their encounters with Marbra, the experience “will be something that will stay with them forever,” Conley said.

One teller at an unspecified bank quit their job the day after the robbery, Stephan said.

Marbra told Conley that he was scared to be facing a prison for the first time.

When asked why he robbed the banks, Marbra told Conley that he thought “the money would make me someone.”

Marbra faced 12.5 to 22 years in prison under the advisory sentencing guidelines. However, his youth and lack of prior adult convictions and testifying against Thompson warranted a lesser sentence, Conley said.

“Before me is a 19-year-old, something not typical in federal court,” Conley said.

Marbra’s willingness to rob banks after not previously committing any violent offense is due in part to being brought up mostly homeless and the “glamour of a life of crime Thompson offered him,” Conley said.

After court, when asked what led authorities to arrest the three robbers, Stephan declined to offer any details other than “good police work.”

Law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, Dane County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Middleton, Madison, Sun Prairie and Fitchburg.

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