Landingham admits supporting gambling habit

RENO, Nev. -- A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former Nevada football player who admitted he robbed two Reno banks to help support a gambling habit.

Rodney Landingham, 21, of Reno, is charged with two counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of use of a firearm in a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Wednesday.

He's accused of using a loaded Llama .380 automatic handgun to rob the banks on June 30 and Aug. 4. If convicted, he could face more than 50 years in federal prison.

Landingham, originally from Sonora, Calif., was dismissed from the Nevada football team shortly after his arrest in the Aug. 4 robbery at a Wells Fargo Bank.

The federal criminal complaint said he wore a Halloween-type mask and costume and robbed the teller of $3,149 in currency.

The teller included an electronic tracking device with the money, which alerted Reno police minutes later to a green Honda Accord driven by Landingham. He was arrested after he jumped out of the car and attempted to flee on foot.

Landingham told a Reno television station in a jailhouse interview last week he had committed a total of four armed robberies in the city this summer. He said a gambling habit left him in debt and he hoped a judge would go easy on him.

"I tried to do it the right way, but the world revolves around money, and it [robberies] was my only option ... It would've been worth it if I hadn't gotten caught," Landingham told KRNV-TV.

Bogden said he faces up to 25 years in prison for the armed bank robbery charges, followed by a minimum of seven years for the first firearm count and a consecutive 25-year minimum sentence for the second firearm count.

Landingham, a sophomore cornerback, played the 2002 season at Oregon State and was forced to sit out the 2003 season under NCAA rules after transferring to Nevada. He never played a game for the Wolf Pack.