No cash, just 3 months' freedom for convict who tried to rob York City bank

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Andre Lamar Henderson

A failed York City bank robber who had been free from prison for three months will be spending a few more years behind bars, despite not having made off with a cent.

Andre Lamar Henderson, 45, of York, appeared in York County Court on Monday, July 1, where presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness sentenced him to 4¼ to 8½ years in state prison, according to court records.

Ness on March 14 found Henderson guilty of the second-degree felony of attempted bank robbery after Henderson waived his right to a jury trial and instead had Ness decide his guilt, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott

The judge gave Henderson credit for the 459 days he's already spent in York County Prison awaiting trial since he was arrested minutes after the botched robbery — two blocks away at the McDonald's, 142 N. George St.

Henderson had been a free man for about three months that day.

Federal prison: In 2012, he was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service. He was released Jan. 12, 2018, according to federal prison records.

Henderson caught the attention of the IRS while serving time in the state prison in Frackville, Schuylkill County.

Andre Lamar Henderson

He and an accomplice on the outside filed about 43 false tax-return claims between December 2007 and August 2008, federal prosecutors have said.

Henderson used the identities of fellow state prison inmates to perpetrate the IRS fraud, officials said.

He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison. He also was ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution, according to court records.

'He got nothing': According to court documents, Henderson entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 12 E. Market St. about 9 a.m. March 30, 2018, and handed the teller a note that read, "I want All The fifties And Hundres 10,000."

Instead of complying, the teller started asking the 5-foot-11, 250-pound Henderson questions — specifically, why he wanted the money, according to York City Police spokesman Lt. Gene Fells, now retired.

In response, Henderson simply turned and walked out of the bank.

"He got nothing," Fells said, and the teller then hit the bank alarm.

Officers were able to identify Henderson in the bank's surveillance video, according to court documents.

Defended himself: Mellott said Henderson represented himself at his bench trial in March, and he also represented himself for several unsuccessful pretrial motions. Public defender Kathryn Bellfy acted as Henderson's standby counsel, the prosecutor said.

Henderson tried to subpoena a York County district judge who had signed some of Henderson's court paperwork, but a judge later ruled the district judge didn't have to testify, according to Mellott.

"I asked for five to 10 years (in prison)," Mellott said, adding the 4¼ to 8½ years handed down by Ness was already considered at the top of the aggravated range for state sentencing guidelines.

Had Henderson used a weapon or threatened someone with violence, the charge could have been upgraded to a first-degree felony and he could have received 10 to 20 years in prison, according to Mellott.

Bellfy did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Criminal history: Henderson has a lengthy history of robbery convictions in York County and nearby counties.

Since 2002, Henderson has pleaded guilty in 10 separate robbery cases — six in York County, one each in Dauphin and Lancaster counties, and two in Montgomery County, according to court records.

He also has pleaded guilty in York County to theft by deception, retail theft and drug dealing, court records state.

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