PITTSBURGH (AP) – A bank robber nicknamed the “Bucket List Bandit” after allegedly telling a Utah teller he had just four months to live was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in federal prison for a string of heists spanning 10 states.
Michael Eugene Brewster’s public defender told the federal judge who handed down the sentence that a medical evaluation found his client didn’t have cancer or any other terminal illness.
Brewster’s case made headlines after the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah, gave Brewster the nickname because of the comment he reportedly made to a Wells Fargo Bank teller during a July 6, 2012, robbery in Roy, Utah. The FBI used the nickname to publicize subsequent robberies until they learned Brewster’s real identity.
“The impetus for the crimes was greed, not grief,” U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin told Brewster. His lawyer, Thomas Patton, declined to comment.
Brewster’s sentence works out to a year for each of the 11 bank heists he committed across the country last year, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he might have received as little as 6 1/2 years. Those guidelines, which take into account a person’s criminal history and the seriousness of the crime, were increased because of the number of banks Brewster robbed, resulting in the longer sentence.
“Given what he did, and his age and all of the circumstances, he’s going to be away a long time and substantially for most of the rest of his life,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said. “We’re satisfied that justice was done.”
Brewster, 54, formerly of Pensacola, Fla., was sentenced in Erie, the city 120 miles north of Pittsburgh where his nationwide robbery string ended Sept. 10. It began June 21, 2012, in Arvada, Colo.
Brewster was arrested three days after the Erie robbery when he ran a stop sign in Roland, Okla. Federal prosecutors brought him back to Erie and easily linked him to the other heists because he was seen wearing the same pale blue polo shirt, glasses and brushed back hair in surveillance videos.
According to court documents, Brewster stole a total of $33,858 and sometimes threatened tellers with violence and claimed to have a gun. Nobody was injured in the robberies.
The smallest amount Brewster stole was $632 from Landmark Bank in Columbia, Mo., on Aug 29, and the most he netted was $7,000 taken during the Utah heist that fueled his nickname.
Although the surveillance videos made it clear that one man was responsible for several robberies, the FBI didn’t know who he was until a tipster saw news coverage of the Pennsylvania heist and gave agents Brewster’s name and birth date.
In some cases, Brewster explained his actions by claiming to be terminally ill and, according to the FBI, specifically told the Utah teller, “I have four months to live.”
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.