ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca man pleaded guilty Monday to robbing two Tompkins County banks within about a month of each other.

Chaio Slater, 32, admitted to robbing the Tompkins Trust Company, located at 775 S. Meadow St. in Ithaca, on Dec. 5. He also said he robbed a CFCU Community Credit Union, located at 99 Sheraton Drive in Lansing, on Jan. 17.

In both robberies, security camera footage shows that Slater demanded money from a bank teller and displayed what appeared to be a handgun. He fled both of the scenes on foot.

An investigation led to Slater’s arrest on Jan. 26, when police and the Ithaca SWAT team issued a planned traffic stop to take him into custody while he was driving on North Route 13. Officers were later able to determine that Slater robbed the banks with a pellet gun he bought on Dec. 5.

Slater was initially charged with two counts of felony first-degree robbery, which was reduced to felony second-degree robbery because he did not use a real gun during the crimes.

District Attorney Matt  Van Houten said in a news release, “Based upon the overwhelming evidence that Chaio Slater was the individual who robbed both banks, combined with the expectation that the defendant would be able to establish that he did not display a real, loaded firearm, this resolution represents the best possible outcome that we could have expected from a trial.”

Slater is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13 in front of Judge John Rowley.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.