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Man accused of bank jugging sentenced to 20 years in prison, police say

Police: Kordell Ellis' probation revoked Friday, he's sentenced to 20 years

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HOUSTON – A man accused of "bank jugging" has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the Houston Police Department.

"Bank jugging" is when a customer is followed and robbed after visiting a bank.

Houston police said Kordell Ellis was charged with burglary of a habitation in Harris County's 176th District Court in 2013.

In the case, Ellis and another person, identified by police as Jamarcus Wilson, kicked in the front door of a residence and stole numerous items from the home. Police said he was placed on deferred adjudication for this offense.

Ellis was arrested again while on probation in 2014 with the same co-defendant as before, and charged with theft, police said. Ellis pleaded guilty to the theft and was allowed to stay on probation.

Police said Ellis was arrested in 2016 for prostitution while still on probation. His probation remained in effect until 2020.

In May 2017, Ellis and Christopher Randle followed a customer from a bank, broke into the person's vehicle and stole money from the vehicle, police said.

Ellis and the other man were charged with the third-degree felony offense of engaging in organized criminal activity and burglary of a motor vehicle, police said.

Ellis' probation was revoked Friday and he was sentenced to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Police said that at the time of his arrest, he was associated with a criminal street gang suspected in dozens of similar "bank jugging" offenses throughout Texas.

Other members of the same criminal street gang still have pending felony cases in Harris County, police said.

Houston police are warning bank customers to use caution when withdrawing large sums of money and to be constantly aware of their surroundings. Police said anyone who has information on bank jugging offenses or suspects is asked to call the Houston Police Department at 713-884-3131 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.