BUFFALO (TNS) — A Buffalo man was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison after federal prosecutors say he escaped from a Florida prison and robbed a Buffalo bank for a second time.
Joseph Licata, 52, of Buffalo, escaped the U.S. Penitentiary, Coleman II, in Sumterville, Fla., on Jan. 17, 2020, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.
After his escape, Licata entered an M&T Bank on Grant Street in Buffalo on Jan. 21, 2020, and handed a bank teller a threatening note that demanded cash, prosecutors said. The teller handed him about $313, which included recorded bait bills, they said.
On the same day, Licata robbed a Speedway Gas Station on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo for about $180, prosecutors said.
Police later arrested Licata with the money taken during the robberies, prosecutors said. He confessed to investigators that he had committed both robberies, and he also was identified by multiple witness at the bank and gas station he had robbed, according to federal court records.
Prior to his escape, Licata had been serving a 120-month sentence at the Florida prison after pleading guilty to several November 2010 bank robberies, according to court records.
Licata was convicted for stealing over $2,000 from the same M&T Bank on Grant Street in Buffalo, prosecutors said. He was also charged with robbing an HSBC bank for $3,000, a Key Bank for $3,800, and two Bank of Americas for $2,320, according to court records.
All five robberies happened in the Buffalo area between Nov. 22, 2010 and Nov. 29, 2010, according to court records. All involved Licata handing a teller a note saying he was armed, with a demand for cash, according to court records.
Licata has several prior convictions including for first-degree attempted robbery in 1993, third-degree attempted burglary in 2002 and third-degree robbery in 2004, according to court records.
Licata was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison Thursday by U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra Jr. for his most recent crimes, prosecutors said.
Along with that sentence, Licata also faces three years of supervised release with conditions, according to federal court records. He also will be required to make restitution payments to M&T Bank for $151, according to court records.
The judge also recommended that Licata be returned to the U.S. Penitentiary, Coleman II in Florida to serve his sentence, according to court records.