United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Phillip Cottman, 40, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 28 years (336 months) and one day in prison by United States District Judge Berle M. Schiller for a spate of armed robberies committed over three-years
According to federal authorities from July 2015 and April 2018, Cottman committed six armed robberies: three Republic Bank branches (on 18th & Market Streets, 16th & Walnut Streets, and 8th & Chestnut Streets), two Dunkin Donuts shops (on 21st & Market Streets and 15th Street & Washington Avenue), and one 7-Eleven convenience store (on 17th & South Streets), all in Center City Philadelphia.
During all six robberies, the defendant pointed a gun at his victims and demanded money, stealing a few thousand dollars from one bank branch and as little as $60 from one shop. He was charged by criminal complaint and arrested in April 2018; at the time of his arrest, he was carrying a loaded Smith & Wesson SD40 VE handgun, despite being a convicted felon which prohibits him from possessing a firearm. In June 2019, a grand jury returned an Indictment formally charging the defendant with all six robberies, including three counts of armed bank robbery, three counts of Hobbs Act robbery, six counts of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Cottman pleaded guilty in January 2020.
“Robbing any type of business – whether it’s a bank, a corner store, or anything in between – is a serious federal offense that can carry stiff penalties, as Cottman can now attest,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Over the course of six robberies during which he threatened innocent people with a gun, the defendant stole a total of about $5,000 and is now going to spend nearly three decades behind bars for his crimes. Committing a violent crime is just not worth it. I want people to know that committing a violent crime in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania carries a tremendous risk of a long prison sentence, which is the point of our new anti-violence public awareness campaign. You can learn more about this campaign on our District website.”
“Phillip Cottman was a serial armed robber,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He was more than comfortable barging into city banks and businesses, terrorizing innocent employees and witnesses at gunpoint, and stealing cash. Had Cottman not been identified and arrested by the FBI/Philadelphia Police Violent Crimes Task Force, he’d still be at it. Philadelphia is safer with him behind bars.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Philadelphia Police Department FBI Task Force officers, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Stengel.