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NY's new bail reform law puts three-time convicted bank robber back on street after allegedly robbing fourth — and cops don't seem thrilled


'Happy New Year everyone! Especially happy for our most recent bank robber.'

Image source: Colonie (N.Y.) Police

Due to New York state's new bail reform law, a man who was convicted three times of robbing banks was released on his own recognizance after being accused of robbing a fourth, the Times Union reported.

What are the details?

Christopher Seamans allegedly robbed the Pioneer Bank in Albany on Friday and got away with an undisclosed amount of money, the paper said.

Police said Seamans — a 41-year-old from East Syracuse — walked up to a teller demanding cash, the Times Union said, adding that while no weapon was seen, he kept a hand inside his jacket.

Image source: Colonie (N.Y.) Police

Police said no customers were in the bank during the robbery and no one was hurt, CNYCentral reported.

Image source: Colonie (N.Y.) Police

Bank surveillance photos and online tips led police to the suspect, the paper added, and Seamans was arrested. He was charged with third-degree robbery and fourth-degree grand larceny, CNYCentral added.

The suspect's criminal history

Thing is, Seamans was convicted of three bank robberies prior to his latest arrest, the Times Union said.

In 2005, he was sentenced to four years in prison for robberies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey — and in 2011, he was sentenced to nearly five years for robbing a New York bank the year prior.

The paper said Seamans was released from federal prison Dec. 17, 2017.

New bail reform law

But the Times Union said Albany County Court was upholding the state's new bail reform law, which requires judges to set most criminal defendants free without posting bail during their pretrial phase.

In addition, the Albany County District Attorney's office had said it would begin operating under the new bail reform rules before their official 2020 implementation, the paper said — and Seamans on Tuesday appeared to be a beneficiary of that stance.

A public defender told Judge William Carter that Seamans qualified for presumptive release under the new bail laws, the Times Union reported, and he was set free on his own recognizance.

How did cops respond?

The paper said Colonie police issued a statement on Seamans' case that concluded with the following two sentences: "Happy New Year everyone! Especially happy for our most recent bank robber."

Anything else?

The state's bail reform law was criticized after a woman was arrested New Year's Eve — her third arrest in less than a week — after two arrests in connection to a pair of attacks. Tiffany Harris allegedly slapped three Orthodox Jewish women in Crown Heights in what police say was an anti-Semitic hate crime; but after her release she allegedly punched a 35-year-old woman in the face — and was again released without bail.

(H/T: Blue Lives Matter)

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