The armed robbery of an Evans Bank in the Town of Tonawanda last year was no ordinary stick-up.
Unlike most bank robbers, the two masked men who held up the Evans branch forced their way into the vault and made off with $80,000 in cash.
Even more important, a year later, the suspects are still at large even though their lookout and getaway driver is going to prison.
Nicholas Graham, 46, of Buffalo, was sentenced Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to seven years in prison for his role in the Jan. 8 robbery of the Tonawanda bank.
Graham was on parole from another conviction and wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet at the time of the hold-up.
"I think that shows how little thought Nicholas put into this," Leslie Scott, an assistant federal public defender, told Geraci. "Regrettably, he made the choice he did and that's why he's here today."
The FBI believes Graham was the third man in a plot that included Waqar Ghumman, 28, and Mohsin Zamir, 31, the two men accused of entering the bank and pointing BB guns at employees and customers.
The agency is offering a combined reward of up to $30,000 for information leading to their arrest and have targeted the two as part of a public campaign that included billboards here and around the country.
"We believe there are people in Buffalo who know their whereabouts," FBI spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey said Thursday.
After the robbery, investigators tracked Ghumman, Zamir and Graham to the Scottish Inn Motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard, where they recovered more than $74,000 in cash, as well as the clothing and BB guns believed to have been used in the robbery.
Graham was arrested at the motel, but Zamir and Ghumman, who has two previous bank robbery convictions, reportedly escaped when two police cruisers chasing them from the motel collided.
The FBI believes the men, who were born in Pakistan and are now U.S. citizens, have ties to several other areas of the country and fled to New York City last January.
In return for information leading to the arrests of the two suspects, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for each man, or a total of $30,000 in rewards. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 856-7800.
Graham's sentence is the result of a prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Adler and an investigation by the FBI and Town of Tonawanda Police.