Man sentenced to 28 years in prison for bank robberies in Leawood, Roeland Park

Leawood bank robbery

Michael Shiferaw was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison after committing two armed bank robberies in 2018 and 2019, including at the Commerce Bank branch in Roeland Park, above. An accomplice, Kenya Breakfield, was sentenced to 6 years in September after pleading guilty. File photo.

A 23-year-old Olathe man has been sentenced to 28 years in federal prison after being convicted of two armed bank robberies in 2018 Leawood and Roeland Park.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, Judge Daniel Crabtree at the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., sentenced Michael Shiferaw for felony two counts of armed bank robbery and two felony counts of discharging a firearm in connection with the robberies.

A federal jury found Shiferaw guilty of all four felonies following a trial in August.

Another man charged with the crimes, Kenya Breakfield, had already pleaded guilty to two counts in connection with the Leawood robbery. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the charges in the Roeland Park case.

Crabtree sentenced Breakfield, 23, to more than 6 years in prison for his role in the crimes in a judgement issued in September.

The online court docket at the federal district court in Kansas City, Kan., shows that Shiferaw’s lawyer filed an appeal to the sentencing on Friday.

The robberies

According to investigators, Shiferaw and Breakfield carried out the two robberies within months of each other, starting with the first robbery on Oct. 13, 2018, at the Wells Fargo bank branch at 2000 W. 103rd Street in Leawood.

Shiferaw and Breakfield entered the bank, and Shiferaw fired a shot into the ceiling before pointing the gun at the tellers, demanding they fill a bag with money, according to court records.

The pair conducted a second robbery on March 27, 2019, at the Commerce Bank branch at 4700 Johnson Drive in Roeland Park.

During that robbery, court records state that Breakfield stayed in the car as the getaway driver while Shiferaw entered the bank and proceeded to threaten the tellers with a gun, firing a total of four shots during the robbery.

The men were arrested shortly after the second robbery.

Shiferaw did request a more lenient sentence based on the conditions of his pretrial confinement, his age and Breakfield’s sentence, but Crabtree ultimately rejected much of that reasoning.

“The seriousness of the defendant’s offense and the harm done by him during this crime spree significantly outweighs any mitigation brought about by his age,” the prosecution said, according to court documents.