Public Safety

Judge sentences Dubuque men to federal prison for robbing Maquoketa bank

Each man must also must pay over $7,000 in victim restitution

Gregory Stapleton
Gregory Stapleton
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Two Dubuque men who robbed a Maquoketa bank last March were sentenced Thursday in federal court.

Gregory Stapleton, 32, pleaded guilty in August to aiding and abetting bank robbery; distribution of heroin, furanyl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl, resulting in serious bodily injury; and possession of a firearm as a felon.

U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand sentenced him to 24 years in federal prison.

Strand also sentenced Dante Rhodes, 41, to nine years in prison. Rhodes pleaded guilty in August to one count of bank robbery.

During the August plea hearings, Rhodes and Stapleton admitted to their involvement in robbing the Fidelity Bank and Trust in Maquoketa on March 8. Rhodes entered the bank, approached a teller, and handed a note that read “Give me your money, I have a gun,” according to a court document and information discussed at the sentencing hearings. The teller placed over $6,500 into Rhodes’s bag. While Rhodes was in the bank, Stapleton sat in a car across the street, listening to a police scanner, court documents show. Stapleton had visited the bank the day before to “case” the bank, and provided the cars used by him and Rhodes in the robbery.

After Rhodes left the bank, he got into his car and drove toward Dubuque, court documents show. When police attempted to pull him over, Rhodes fled at a high rate of speed. He drove over 100 mph in busy traffic, as he led police on the chase.

Court documents show Rhodes then crashed into multiple vehicles before his arrest. One motorist was injured and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Authorities said a large amount of cash was “blowing in the wind” after the crash and during a search of the SUV several bundles of money, totaling $3,215, and clothing that matched the description of what one of the robbers was wearing were recovered.

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In addition to his involvement in the bank robbery, Stapleton was also convicted and sentenced for possessing firearms as a felon in July 2016, and selling heroin last January.

According to court documents, Stapleton, who had multiple prior felony convictions, asked a heroin user to purchase five firearms for him. Stapleton provided heroin in exchange for guns and then Stapleton gave the guns to his heroin source.

Court documents show Stapleton sold heroin in the Dubuque area from at least as early as 2016. Last January, Stapleton sold a mixture of heroin, furanyl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl within 1000 feet of a playground. The buyer took the drugs to another person who used the mixture which resulted in a serious bodily injury.

Judge Strand also ordered each of the men to make $7,743 in restitution to victims of the bank robbery, including the bank and motorist who was injured in the pursuit of the robbers. Both men also will have to serve a three years of supervised release following their prison time.

U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan, Jr., in a statement following the sentencings, thanked the FBI and the Dubuque and Jackson County sheriff’s offices, Dubuque and Maquoketa police departments and the Dubuque Drug Task Force for their “excellent work on this very important case.” The office is dedicated to keeping the communities safe by holding opioid dealers and “violent criminals” accountable for their crimes, he added.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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