Clarence Man Pleads Guilty in Guaranty Bank Robbery Last Year

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter


By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Clarence man pleaded guilty this week for his part in the Guaranty Bank robbery last September in Cedar Rapids.

Christopher Ledale Lanehart, 24, originally charged with second-degree robbery, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of first-degree theft and extortion Wednesday in Linn County District Court. He faces 15 years in prison, according to the plea agreement. A sentencing date hasn't been set.

Lanehart was arrested and charged after his co-defendants, Daniel Straw, 23, and Kevin Conner, 18, were charged with second-degree robbery.

According to the criminal complaints, Connor and Straw admitted to helping Lanehart, who was “casing” locations for a robbery. They initially considered U.S. Bank on Mt. Vernon Road SE, but decided the conditions “were not right.” The three then drove to a secluded area and parked near Guaranty Bank, 191 Jacolyn Dr. SW. Connor and Straw told police they waited in the car while Lanehart went inside, presented a “hold up” note and robbed the bank.

Connor and Straw told police they moved the car to a better position while Lanehart was inside and then both ran from the scene, leaving the car, when they saw police cars in the area, according to the complaints. The two men were captured by police after a foot chase.

Lanehart also left on foot and was arrested later.

Connor and Straw both pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, according to court records. Straw received a suspended sentence of 10 years in prison and received five years probation and will be placed in a residential facility for one year. Connor's sentencing is March 25.

All three men were ordered to pay joint restitution of $3,000 to the bank.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Jason Burns said the joint restitution requires each man to pay $3,000 and if one doesn't pay the others are responsible.
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