Albany, NY – A three-time convicted bank robber was released from jail without bond just days after being arrested for yet another bank robbery.
Albany County Court Judge William Carter released 41-year-old Christopher Seamans on his own recognizance on Tuesday afternoon after prosecutors told the judge that he qualified for no-bond release under the state’s new criminal justice reform laws, the Times Union reported.
Police arrested Seamans on Dec. 28, 2019, in connection with a robbery at Pioneer Savings Bank the day prior, the Colonie Police Department (CPD) said in a Facebook post.
According to investigators, Seaman kept his hand inside his pocket as he barged into the bank and demanded that a teller hand over cash, the Times Union reported.
He made off with an undisclosed amount of money.
Investigators posted surveillance photos of the suspect online in an effort to identify him, and received a slew of tips from the public.
Seamans was ultimately taken into custody by the New York State Police and the Dewitt Police Department, and has been charged with third-degree robbery and fourth-degree larceny, the CPD said in the post.
Investigators found evidence related to the robbery inside his residence and vehicle, but the cash he stole from the bank has not been recovered.
In 2005, Seamans was sentenced to four years in prison for robbing banks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Times Union reported.
He robbed another bank in New York in 2010, and was sentenced to almost five years in prison on that case.
Seamans was most recently released from federal prison on Dec. 17, 2017, according to the Times Union.
Despite his extensive criminal history and the fact that the cash he allegedly stole has not been recovered, Seamans was allowed to walk out of jail without bond on New Year’s Eve.
“In light of the interest in the new bail/discovery reform for 2020 – here is an early example,” CPD’s post read. “Happy New Year everyone! Especially happy for our most recent bank robber.”
New York’s so-called criminal justice reform laws went into effect on New Year’s Day.
Offenders found in possession of a wide array of weapons – including guns, switchblades, swords, machetes, and stun guns – will now be issued a “desk appearance ticket” and “set free,” the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) pointed out in a Facebook post in December.
Lawmakers also eliminated cash bail for hundreds of other criminal charges, including stalking, arson, resisting arrest, money laundering in support of terrorism, rioting, vehicular assault, unlawful imprisonment, negligent homicide, and a slew of drug-related charges.
Criminal offenses against children, including child abuse, promoting child prostitution, facilitating female genital mutilation, and possessing or promoting a sexual performance by a child will also be treated with a mandatory release.
Obstructing governmental duties by means of a bomb, killing a police K9 or horse, and obstructing emergency medical services personnel were also included on the no-jail list.
In recent days, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has stationed workers on Rikers Island to dole out gifts to all departing inmates.
Carrying all of the taxpayer-purchased rewards, including $25 debit cards, Mets tickets, free transit passes, movie tickets, and various gift cards, has become such a burden that the city is working to purchase drawstring bags so criminals can pack their prizes out more easily, the New York Post reported.
There are even plans in the works to kick in some prepaid cell phones as part of New York’s soft-on-crime criminal justice reform law changes.
Over $500,000 has been used to purchase additional items, such as winter coats, the New York Post reported. The Steve Madden shoe company has also donated footwear to the cause.
Although de Blasio originally touted the gifts as an incentive to get people to show up to court, they’re now being bestowed upon all exiting criminals – including those who have wrapped up their sentences and have no further court hearings in connection with their latest round of offenses, the New York Post reported.
The city is using taxpayer dollars not only to shower criminals with gifts, but also to pay the workers from nonprofit groups that are doling everything out to them.
The program will expand beyond the boundaries of Rikers to all city courthouses during the week of Jan. 6.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when the city bends over backward to reward criminals instead of protecting the victims of their crimes,” one law enforcement source told the paper. “What’s next? Free limo service back home?”
As many as 15,000 inmates are expected to rake in the prizes supplied by the incentive program, according to the New York Post.
“2020 is going to be the year of the perp,” one law enforcement source told the paper.