Rock Hill man gets 10 years for fake bomb robbery

Man pleads guilty to attempted bank heist that locked down Rock Hill school

04/02/2012 12:00 AM

04/03/2012 8:37 AM

The convicted felon who used a phony bomb to rob a Rock Hill bank in January was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty, prosecutors said.

John Edward Burchfield Jr. called a taxi cab to pick him up at his apartment after the robbery at the Citizens South branch on India Hook Road, but heads-up action by Rock Hill Police Department patrol officer Daniel Burkhart prompted the cab to be stopped.

Burchfield, 49, whom prosecutors say has burglary convictions from Illinois, was arrested and confessed to using a fake bomb made of a cellphone and wires wrapped in a box to steal $1,766 in the early morning robbery just after the branch opened.

The robbery and bomb – later found to be fake, prompted a lockdown of a nearby elementary school and terrified bank employees, said E.B. Springs, assistant solicitor.

“Mr. Burchfield scared people with that device when he used it to get the money,” Springs said Monday after court where Burchfield pleaded to the robbery and possession of a hoax device. “This was a serious crime where people were threatened with violence.”

No one was hurt in the robbery where Burchfield threatened to use the fake bomb.

“It’s a bomb, and I have the igniting switch,” Burchfield told a teller that day. “I will blow it up if you don’t give me money.”

The Rock Hill Police bomb squad and dozens of other police responded to the scene. Burkhart, the patrolman, saw the cab pick up Burchfield then stopped the cab. A woman who was with Burchfield after the robbery at the time of his arrest was not charged with a crime.

Burchfield’s lawyer with the York County Public Defender’s Office could not be reached Monday evening.

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