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Man gets prison sentence for bomb ploy bank robberies
Turlock site included in guilty plea
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A Stockton man who admitted to robbing several banks in and around the San Joaquin Valley by pretending to have a bomb, including one such robbery in Turlock, will be sitting in prison for the next 15 years.

Phillip Dale Selfa, 63, of Stockton, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and eight months in federal prison on six counts of bank robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Selfa was arrested in May 2011 and entered his guilty plea in July 2015.

In each of his six robberies, Selfa carried boxes, bags and satchels into the financial institutions and placed them on a counter. He would show an item that appeared to be detonator and threaten to set off the explosives if he was not given cash. 

He would leave the items behind at the bank and abscond with the money. In each case, law enforcement had to close down the bank, neighboring streets and call out a bomb squad to determine the validity of the items. In each case the detonator and the bags or boxes of explosives were found to be fake. During his robberies, Selfa also wore various disguises and head coverings.

Selfa pleaded guilty to robbing the following banks:

— Dec. 27, 2010, Bank of Stockton in Pine Grove for $2,000;

— Jan. 13, 2011, Bank of the West in Lockeford for $4,000;

— Feb. 25, 2011, Farmers and Merchants Bank in Linden for $351;

— March 30, 2011, Westamerica Bank in Turlock for $4,500;

— April 29, 2011, Bank of the West in Ripon for $3,050, and

— May 5, 2011, Bank of the West in Lodi for $4,037.