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Cerean admits to robbing banks
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A Ceres man has pled guilty to four counts of bank robbery, including two in Turlock and two in Modesto.

Michael Torres entered his guilty plea Wednesday in federal court to four counts of armed bank robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the department of justice.

Torres pleaded guilty to robbing the following banks and stealing an estimated $115,000.:

• U.S. Bank, 3501 Tully Road, Modesto, on May 27, 2010;

• Rabobank, 2190 West Monte Vista Avenue, Turlock, on September 23, 2010;

• Oak Valley Community Bank, 2001 Geer Road, Turlock, on January 28, 2011; and

• Farmers and Merchants Bank, 1700 McHenry Avenue, Modesto, on May 27, 2011.

During each of the four robberies, Torres wore a hat, sunglasses, a bandage on his left cheek, and carried a backpack. He would enter each bank, brandish a firearm, corral the employees, and flee with cash, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported.

At the Rabobank robbery Torres had a gun concealed in his backpack and pulled it out when he entered the bank. He ordered the bank employees take him to the vault, where he removed an undisclosed sum of cash.

The Oak Valley Community Bank robbery was also reported as a "take-over" style robbery.

Torres is scheduled for sentencing April 8. He faces up to 25 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for each armed bank robbery. Torres will also receive a consecutive sentence for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will also be required to pay restitution for each of the robberies. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The case was investigated by the Turlock and Modesto police departments and the FBI and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Torres was apprehended by the Ceres and Modesto Police Department hours after the Farmers & Merchants Bank was robbed. A surveillance video of the robbery was posted on the MPD's Facebook page and linked to their Twitter account, which generated multiple tips and led to the identification of the suspect. Modesto police staked out Torres' home in the 3900 block of Ridlon Court and noted that Torres was removing the lumber rack from his pickup and loading up trash in the bed so as to disguise the vehicle.

Torres was laid off of work with Frito-Lay in Modesto before the string of robberies.