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Cross-dressing bank robber sentenced to prison orange

Liz Evans Scolforo

One of York County's cross-dressing bank robbers will have to hang up his dresses and make do with prison orange for at least five years after pleading guilty to robbing three York County banks and trying to rob a fourth.

Eric S. Reaves, 47, of West Cottage Place in York City, pleaded guilty Monday in York County Court to four counts of robbery, according to court records.

York Area Regional Police Detective Donald Hopple Jr. arrested Eric Reaves on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, as the man was about to rob another bank, police allege.
(Photo courtesy of York Area Regional Police)

He was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison, according to deputy prosecutor Teresa Jauregui.

She said a plea agreement in this case was appropriate because Reaves didn't use a weapon or physically injure anyone during the robberies, he cooperated with police and confessed to his crimes, and because the agreement calls for him to pay nearly $15,000 in restitution to the four banks.

The sentence is within the state's standard sentencing guideline range, according to the prosecutor.

"We thought it was a fair balance between him being punished for his crimes ... and making the victims whole," Jauregui said.

Brad Peiffer, Reaves' public defender, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Reaves' sentence requires him to submit to a drug-and-alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment and orders him to pay $14,492 in restitution to the four banks he robbed, according to Jauregui.

Thwarted: Reaves was captured Aug. 10 as he tried to rob a York Township credit union.

Police: Cross-dressing bank robber caught red-handed

That's because York Area Regional Detective Donald Hopple Jr. called AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union on Indian Rock Dam Road and warned them ahead of time the bank was about to be robbed, according to court documents.

Reaves walked through the outer doors of the bank, but bank employees had time to lock the inner doors before he could get inside, police allege.

When Hopple and York Area Officer Michael Zinn — both of whom had been tailing the cross-dressing suspect — arrived at the bank, they arrested the man, went through his purse and found a note inside that read, "MONEY NOW!! 100's, 50's, 20's," documents state.

Reaves was about 100 yards from the bank at the time, according to police.

He pleaded guilty to that bank robbery attempt and also pleaded guilty to robbing the M&T Bank at 1000 Haines Road in Springettsbury Township on July 27, 2016; the Northwest Savings Bank at 2220 S. Queen St. in York Township on Oct. 28, 2015; and the York Traditions Bank at 235 St. Charles Way in York Township on July 16, 2016.

Wigged out: Police alleged Reaves wore an orange wig and dresses and carried a purse when he robbed the banks.

Police also have said they suspect the robber's inclination to dress like a woman is an attempt at disguise rather than a lifestyle choice.

Eric Reaves

Hopple and Zinn focused on Reaves after a state parole officer called them Aug. 1 to say he believed the bank robber shown in surveillance photos was his client, Reaves, according to court documents.

Reaves has a history of committing bank robberies that includes using a disguise, documents allege.

He was free on parole at the time of the October 2015 robbery but in December 2015 was put on GPS monitoring after being charged with DUI, Hopple wrote in the court documents. The GPS monitoring stopped in June 2016, according to Hopple.

Also, police knew the York Township bank robber had fled in a gold car, and Reaves owns a gold Kia Spectra, according to documents.

They learned he owed his landlord nearly $2,000 and that he gave the landlord cash on July 18 and 19 and promised to give him more in August, documents state.

Police put Reaves' home under surveillance, and on Aug. 5 they followed him as he drove past a bank in Shrewsbury then drove home, according to documents.

Circled banks: On Aug. 8, police again followed Reaves, who circled the AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union on Indian Rock Dam Road and the PeoplesBank headquarters on Leader Heights Road for more than an hour, Hopple has said.

York Area Regional Police arrest Eric Reaves for allegedly being a repeat cross-dressing bank robber.
(Photo courtesy of York Area Regional Police)

At one point they watched as Reaves got out of a vehicle while wearing a large orange and brownish wig and a black dress and started walking toward AmeriChoice, according to charging documents.

But before reaching the entrance, he turned around, got onto Interstate 83 and drove to Maryland before returning home, documents state.

They were still conducting surveillance on him Aug. 10 when he left his home, got into a car and drove back to AmeriChoice, where he was arrested shortly after 9 a.m., according to police. He again was wearing a wig and a dress, police said.

Different cross-dresser: York City resident Karibe Toyonn Beatty dressed as a woman when he allegedly robbed the Members 1st Federal Credit Union at 2145 White St. in West Manchester Township on Sept. 3, 2015, according to township police.

State prison for cross-dressing York bank robber

Beatty, 23, of North Tremont Street, was sentenced in October 2016 to 8½ to 17 years in prison for robbing the PeoplesBank at 221 W. Philadelphia St. in York City on Aug. 28, 2015, and the Members 1st Federal Credit Union at 2145 White St. in West Manchester Township on Sept. 3, 2015.

In addition to prison, Beatty was ordered to pay about $11,680 in restitution to the banks, court records state.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.