David William Reeks

Billings man accused in 2 bank robberies admits he robbed one; 2nd charge to be dropped

A Billings man convicted of bank robbery apologized as he was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison.

“If I’d even thought for a second, I wouldn’t have done it,” said David William Reeks, 47, in U.S. District Court in Billings. Reeks said he felt “bad beyond words.”

Reeks apologized after hearing how the robbery of Little Horn State Bank on Jan. 10 traumatized three employees, including a staffer, the branch manager and the president/CEO.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters followed the recommendation from the prosecution and sentenced Reeks to 10 years, which was longer than the guideline range and nearly double the low end of the range.

Watters noted Reeks' criminal history, which included a casino robbery conviction for which he served about 10 years in state prison, and said his criminal activity was getting worse, not better, as he aged.

Although Reeks used an air gun that looked like a real handgun when he brandished it and demanded money, the distinction didn’t matter to the victims, who thought they could have died at any moment, Watters said.

Reeks being drunk and high at the time also was no excuse, the judge told him.

Reeks pleaded guilty in April to bank robbery for robbing at gunpoint the Valley Federal Credit Union, 2955 Grand Ave., on Jan. 31.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Watters dismissed a second bank robbery charge for the Little Horn State Bank hold up on Jan. 10.

Watters ordered restitution for both bank robberies, with $10,375 for Valley Federal Credit Union and $7,454 for Little Horn State Bank.

The judge also ran the federal sentence consecutive to a state sentence. Reeks had been paroled in 2015 for a casino robbery conviction and could be facing a revocation.

In addition, Reeks is facing three robbery counts, including the Little Horn State Bank robbery along with other casino robberies, in state district court.

In federal court, Reeks admitted to robbing the Valley Federal Credit Union.

Prosecutor John Sullivan said Reeks entered the bank wearing a black ski mask, gloves and a black backpack. He removed what appeared to be a firearm from the backpack and demanded to be taken to the money room. A teller took Reeks to the back room while another teller triggered an alarm.

The teller gave Reeks several stacks of money, including some bait bills. Reeks then ordered the tellers to lie on the ground and he ran from the bank.

Billings police officers responded and began looking for a dark green Honda, which had been used to flee the earlier robbery at the Little Horn State Bank.

Officers found the Honda near the credit union and attempted to pull it over. But Reeks fled from police until his vehicle spun out on a patch ice. Police found a large wad of cash in Reeks’ pocket, cash on top of a black backpack and more cash inside. All of the bait bills from the credit union were recovered.

Police also found a mask, gloves and a BB pistol in the model of a Beretta 9mm handgun. Reeks admitted in an interview that he had robbed the credit union.

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Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.