BR man indicted in bank robbery by federal grand jury

Scott Coats
Scott Coats

A federal grand jury indicted a suspected serial bank robber Wednesday in an August bank heist — about a month after he was released from prison following two bank robberies in 2003.

Scott E. Coats, 44, of Baton Rouge, was charged with bank robbery after he allegedly held up the First NBC Bank on Range Avenue in Denham Springs on Aug. 16.

Coats is accused of taking about $1,500 from First NBC, according to the indictment filed Wednesday in the U.S. Middle District Court of Louisiana.

Denham Springs police captured Coats shortly after the robbery, bank officials have said.

Coats was convicted in 2005 of robbing two banks in a five-day span in 2003, federal court records show.

He robbed a Hancock Bank on Coursey Boulevard in Baton Rouge on Nov. 1, 2003, and an AmSouth Bank on Range Avenue in Denham Springs on Nov. 5, 2003. He took $780 and $1,685 in those heists, respectively.

As part of a plea agreement, Coats was sentenced in February 2005 to seven years in prison and three years of federal supervision following his release.

The court also ordered Coats to pay restitution to the banks and undergo substance abuse treatment.

Coats, while on supervised release, told a probation officer in August 2011 that he had used cocaine, which prompted him to be sent for further substance abuse treatment.

Coats told a probation officer on Oct. 5, 2011, that he had been using cocaine for a few days and wanted to be put in jail because he could not stop using drugs, court records say.

A federal judge then signed a warrant for Coats’ arrest and in December 2011, U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola ordered Coats to serve 24 months in prison for the violation.

Coats was released from federal prison July 3, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Court records indicate Coats was released from prison before the completion of both sentences.

Attorney Tommy Damico, who represented Coats in the 2003 robberies, said Coats received credit for 21 months served in jail before he received his official sentences.

Coats served about 100 days, or more than three months, before his second sentence for the probation violation.

Damico said he has not been contacted by Coats or his family regarding the recent robbery incident. He declined comment when asked about the case.

Coats was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a count of simple robbery following his arrest, jail records show.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge James J. Brady.