The 66-year-old Winchester man charged in the Nov. 19, 2021, robbery of a Leesburg bank was sentenced Tuesday to serve four years in prison.
According to evidence in the case, on that day Kenneth W. Sencindiver approached a teller at the M&T Bank on East Market Street, handing her a note demanding cash from her drawer and claiming there were armed accomplices watching. He left the bank with about $525 in cash, but a dye pack exploded before he got to the car where his son was waiting for him nearby. The two men were arrested the next night following a police chase that started in Frederick County and ended in Purcellville.
In March, he pleaded guilty to charges of robbery with threat or intimidation, and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Both charges are class 6 felonies that carry maximum sentences of five years in prison. In the plea agreement with county prosecutors, Sencindiver faced a maximum active sentence of five years in prison.
In developing a sentence, Judge Douglas L. Fleming Jr. said he took into account Sencindiver’s age, serious health conditions and traumatic upbringing, but also the inherent danger of committing a bank robbery and the trauma inflicted on the teller he threatened.
Fleming noted that dispite being raised in an abusive family, Sencindiver largely led a productive life, with no criminal history through age 60 and even securing a top-secret government clearance. “You were a law-abiding citizen for most of your life,” he said.
In earlier hearings, testimony indicated that Sencindiver had planned to scan the nearby McDonalds restaurant for purse-snatching opportunities, but then got the idea to rob the bank and wrote out a note for the teller.
Sencindiver said he didn’t know why he did that, citing a blood sugar imbalance from his diabetes as a potential contributing factor.
Fleming agreed the last-minute strategy change was a poor decision.
“This was a ham-handed job. It wasn’t professional,” Fleming said. “It was sad.”
But the judge said it was important to send a message to the community about the serious nature of bank robberies, which, along with home invasions, represent the most dangerous situations. “That is how people get shot,” he said, also noting that the teller could have suffered a heart attack or stroke while being threatened.
“Words have impact on people and the words you used were violent words,” Fleming said.
And, the judge said, if Sencindiver actually was suffering from a blood sugar imbalance, a better option may have been to steal a sandwich.
Sencindiver was sentenced to three years in prison on the robbery charge and one year on the ammunition charge, to be served consecutively. He also will serve one year of post-release incarceration, an alternative to conventional probation.
The sentence was above that recommended in the state sentencing guidelines report, which called for a sentence of two years and one month in prison.
Sencindiver also faces charges in Clarke and Frederick counties.
Charges against his son, Kenneth W. Sencindiver II, in the Leesburg bank robbery case were dismissed during a District Court hearing.