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Man who returned to Buffalo to rob 4 banks sentenced to 12 years

A former Buffalo man who returned here from Philadelphia to rob four HSBC banks is going to prison for more than 12 years.

In sentencing Clifford B. Smith, the judge made mention of the tellers and customers he victimized during the four robberies in 2011.

“You went on a dedicated, committed crime spree and this community was terrorized by it," U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny said Wednesday.

Smith requested that he be sentneced to time served - he’s been in jail three years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti said she was surprised by the request and outlined for the judge his long history of criminal activity.

She also reminded the judge of Smith’s attempts to tamper with a witness by contacting her while in jail and asking her lie by claiming Smith was with her when the robberies took place.

Smith told Skretny that he had found his “purpose” while in jail and promised to do better if he was released.

His sentence is the result of an investigation by the FBI and Buffalo Police.