Ex-teller convicted in 3 Phoenix-area bank heists

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- A former bank teller has been convicted of orchestrating three bank robberies in the Phoenix metropolitan area in 2012.
 
Federal prosecutors say Joel Leon Thomas Jr., of El Mirage, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, aiding and abetting armed bank robbery and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
 
He's scheduled to be sentenced July 7.
 
Evidence at trial showed Thomas, 23,  provided inside information to his co-conspirators about bank security measures to craft plans to rob three banks in January and February 2012.
 
The conspiracy targeted banks Thomas worked at in Surprise, Sun City and Peoria.
 
Prosecutors say Thomas orchestrated two robberies at gunpoint. He also posed as a victim bank teller in one heist, loading $246,000 from the vault into a duffel bag.