One of three individuals who attempted to rob a Scotiabank on St. Thomas has admitted to his role in the crime, and is now facing between five and 15 years behind bars, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Melik Petersen, 28, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault with intent to commit robbery, and admitted to firing a 7.62 mm rifle during a shootout with three Ranger American security guards who were attempting to pick up $951,000 in cash from the bank’s Altona branch.

The incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2019, and left one of the guards with a bullet wound to the leg.

Petersen and another gunman fled the scene with the aid of a driver, who crashed their getaway vehicle near the bank, and all three men fled on foot.

Court documents have not named the two other co-defendants and Petersen appears to be the only person arrested in connection with the crime.

“The assailants did not get away with any of Scotiabank’s currency,” according to the plea agreement Petersen signed with prosecutors in September.

Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller formally accepted Petersen’s guilty plea Wednesday, according to court records.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The case was investigated by V.I. Police and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Sleeper and Nathan Brooks.

— Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email