Wichita man sentenced in jewelry store, bank robberies

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

A Wichita man who held a jewelry store owner at gunpoint has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.  

U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said 25-year-old Terence Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of brandishing a firearm during a jewelry store robbery and one count of bank robbery in a separate incident.

In the jewelry store robbery on December 21, 2015, Thomas admitted he had a knife when he approached the owner of Kim Chee Jewelry at 2038 N. Broadway as the owner and his wife arrived for work. The owner drew a handgun in self-defense.

The two men wrestled and shots were fired before Thomas got the gun. He forced the owner to open the door to the business.

When Thomas tried to drag the owner’s wife into the business, she fell to the ground, feigning a heart attack. Thomas fled the scene after the owner locked him out of the business.

A witness took photos of Thomas’ car as he fled, which helped police to identify Thomas and arrest him.

In a separate incident a month earlier, Thomas robbed the Fidelity Bank at 3525 East Harry. He told the teller, “This is a robbery,” and counted down from twenty while the teller put cash in his bag. He fled the bank with the money.

Beall commended the Wichita Police Department, FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart for their work on the case.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show Thomas was served time in prison on three aggravated robbery convictions in 2010. 

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