Bucket List Bandit pleads guilty to 11 bank robberies, including Roy heist

Mar 13 2013 - 11:33pm

Images

The Bucket List Bandit is seen in surveillance photos taken at robbery scenes. In addition to robberies in Roy, Colorado, Columbia, Mo., North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Brewster pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 13, to robberies in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Pocatello; Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Bloomington, Ill.; and O’Fallon, Mo. (Courtesy images)
Michael Brewster
The Bucket List Bandit is seen in surveillance photos taken at robbery scenes. In addition to robberies in Roy, Colorado, Columbia, Mo., North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Brewster pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 13, to robberies in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Pocatello; Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Bloomington, Ill.; and O’Fallon, Mo. (Courtesy images)
Michael Brewster

ROY -- The Bucket List Bandit, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to 11 heists in a daring cross-country crime spree last year, netted his biggest haul of $7,000 from a Wells Fargo Bank in Roy, according to court records.

The July 6 robbery of the bank at 5603 S. 1900 West earned Michael Eugene Brewster the Bucket List Bandit nickname because he handed a teller a note stating he only had four months to live. The Standard-Examiner coined the nickname.

Federal public defender Thomas Patton declined to comment on whether Brewster was terminally ill, and Brewster merely shrugged and smiled when The Associated Press asked him that question after a detention hearing in Erie, Pa., in October.

Asked whether Brewster's illness has been confirmed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Piccinini said, "I can't say that it has or hasn't been. There's been nothing presented to us" that suggests Brewster is ill.

Brewster, formerly of Pensacola, Fla., faces a likely sentence of 10 to 14 years in federal prison when he returns for sentencing Aug. 12, according to a plea agreement outlined Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin in Erie.

Roy Police Chief Gregory G. Whinham said Wednesday he's pleased Brewster will face justice.

"It's always good to get someone who does criminal activity off the street," he said.

"There is nothing to his pattern that indicates he was going to stop. Because it went federal, it didn't take long to get a conviction. If I had a chance to sit down with him, I would ask him what led him to do what he is doing. That is that little piece of information that we didn't get to know -- his motivation."

In addition, Whinham said bank robbery carries a lot of risk and little reward.

Brewster pleaded guilty to the Sept. 10 Huntington National Bank heist in Erie and a string of 10 other robberies that began June 21 in Arvada, Colo.

Brewster has been jailed since his Sept. 13 arrest in Roland, Okla., after he ran a stop sign near a casino near the Arkansas border.

The FBI warrant for the Erie robbery showed up on a computer search, and Brewster was brought back to Pennsylvania, where federal prosecutors took over the nationwide investigation.

According to court documents, Brewster stole a total of $33,858 in the robberies, though an amount wasn't listed for the fifth robbery, which occurred July 20 at the Bank of America in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The least Brewster stole was $632 from Landmark Bank in Columbia, Mo., on Aug. 29, while the $7,000 he got from the Roy Wells Fargo was the most.

The FBI began to close in on Brewster after the Erie robbery thanks to a telephone tip that he was the Bucket List Bandit.

An FBI agent searched National Crime Information Center records for Brewster and found he had an arrest warrant for stealing a Chevrolet Captiva from Donna Fisher, of Pensacola.

Fisher told the Standard-Examiner last year that she allowed Brewster to borrow a 2012 black Captiva she had rented to help her parents, whose car was being repaired. He never returned the car, she said.

A sport utility vehicle consistent with the Captiva was seen fleeing from a July 20 robbery at the Bank of America in Winston-Salem, believed to have been committed by the Bucket List Bandit, according to a federal warrant for Brewster's arrest.

At the time of his arrest in Oklahoma, Brewster was driving the vehicle stolen from Florida that had a false license plate from Utah, according to the FBI.

In addition to the robberies in Roy, Colorado, Columbia, Mo., North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Brewster pleaded guilty to robberies in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Pocatello; Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Bloomington, Ill.; and O'Fallon, Mo.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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