The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

April 23, 2014

Federal trial finds man guilty of 2003 attempted bank robbery, shootout with police

ANDERSON — A man has been convicted in federal court, more than 10 years after he exchanged gunfire with an Anderson police officer during an attempted bank robbery.

Pascal S. Sylla, 45, was found guilty on felony charges of attempted bank robbery and discharging a firearm during a violent crime by an Indianapolis jury on April 16. The charges relate to Aug. 1, 2003, when Sylla committed the crime at the Madison County Federal Credit Union on East 53rd Street. Sylla will be sentenced by Indiana Southern District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, but a sentencing date has not been set.

During the incident in Anderson, around 2:30 p.m., then-Anderson Police Department Assistant Chief Chief Ray Novak was in plain clothes at the credit union depositing money into his savings account. Once the robbery got underway, Novak and the man — whom DNA identified as Sylla — exchanged gunfire.

Sylla escaped, but was shot at least once and left several drops of blood in and around the bank. Police from several different agencies conducted a manhunt looking for Sylla throughout the day and night. He was never found.

The blood from the scene was collected and the DNA profile from it entered into a national DNA data base — CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System. More than seven years later, on Dec. 23, Indiana State Police notified Anderson police that a match to the blood had been found.

Sylla, who was already serving a sentence at Terre Haute’s Federal Correctional Institute for a 2005 Rushville bank robbery, was initially charged at the state level by the Madison County Prosecutor's Office in 2011. Charges of attempted murder and attempted armed robbery were dropped without prejudice in December 2012, then the case was picked up again by the federal court seven months later. Sylla was indicted on July 16.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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