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An ankle monitor didn’t keep North Carolina man from robbing banks — again and again, FBI says

A judge's gavel rests on a book of law. (Dreamstime/TNS)

While court records reveal Khalil Prater as a persistent bank robber, he has not proven to be a particularly elusive one.

Starting in February and continuing for the next month or so, the 26-year-old Charlotte man targeted three city banks, the FBI claims.

In each incident, Prater was either wearing a GPS device or unknowingly carrying one. Not surprisingly, his attempted escapes on foot never got very far.

Prater was arrested Friday on federal bank robbery charges and was being held in the Mecklenburg County jail, arrest records show. As of Tuesday, his initial appearance in federal court had not been scheduled nor did his court file include the name of a defense attorney.

However, a new five-page FBI affidavit added to his court file is flush with details of Prater’s eventful history with electronic monitoring.

On Feb. 8, a man entered the Wells Fargo branch on South Tryon Street in Steele Creek, then passed a note to a teller and manager. “Give me money and no one gets hurt. Hurry,” it read.

The manager turned over $837 in cash, but not before slipping in a tracking device. According to the affidavit, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police quickly tracked the GPS monitor to within “a few” hundred yards of the crime scene.

There, according to the affidavit, officers found Prater, who was wearing the same clothes as the robber captured by the bank’s surveillance cameras, the affidavit alleges. He also was carrying $750 in cash as well as the bank’s monitor. He confessed later that day to the robbery, the affidavit says.

Two weeks later, on Feb. 23, Prater was released from the county jail and ordered by a judge to wear a CMPD ankle monitor. The FBI says a robbery suspect was wearing the same device a week later when he walked into a Bank of America branch on Beatties Ford Road, just north of uptown.

Once again, the intruder passed a note to a teller — “Give me as much money as you can and nobody gets hurt — hurry.” Once again, he never revealed a weapon. He also left on foot carrying $6,600 of the bank’s money.

This time, according to the affidavit, the suspect made it as far as a residence — Prater’s residence — in Lincoln Heights. That’s where CMPD tracked and found him, the affidavit claims.

According to the monitoring device, Prater was in the Bank of America branch at the time of the robbery. When police arrived at his home, he was still wearing the red shirt bank witnesses had included in their descriptions of the robber. A search of Prater’s pants revealed $6,535 in cash.

Prater denied committing the robbery, describing it instead as a “misunderstanding.” Police, somehow, arrested him anyway. Nonetheless, according to the FBI, Prater’s larcenous trifecta was not complete.

On March 15, he again was freed from pretrial release — this time on the second bank robbery charge — and again ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

Suitably chastened, Prater waited an entire day before entering the U.S. Bank branch on South Tryon Street in uptown, the affidavit claims. He again passed a familiar note. “Give me all of your cash and nobody gets hurt, please hurry,” it read.

This time, the teller did not cooperate, telling the robber that she was busy with a call — while she notified her colleagues of the ongoing robbery attempt.

Prater went to another teller, the affidavit claims.

“I know you can open it,” Prater said, referring to the teller’s cash drawer. “You have 30 seconds.” He then began counting down.

An unarmed security guard interceded, telling Prater to leave, which he did without getting any money.

CMPD, because of the ankle monitor, knew almost immediately that Prater was near the bank at the time of the attempted robbery. About an hour later, officers tracked him to a CATS bus at Fourth Street approaching South Tryon. Intentionally or not, Prater, according to the affidavit, had returned to the scene of the alleged crime.

Police investigating the robbery attempt literally stepped out of the bank and onto the bus, the affidavit says.

There, they found Prater. Once again, he was wearing the same clothes as the attempted robber, the same monitor he’d been ordered to wear the day before.


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