Criminal Justice News

Saturday, June 30, 2012

“Fake Beard Bandit” Sentenced to 135 Months for Each of Seven Armed Bank Robberies in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas

FORT SMITH, AR—Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Jason Day, age 39 of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 135 months today for each of seven counts of armed bank robbery, one count of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery, to run concurrent. While dressed as the “Fake Beard Bandit,” Day robbed or attempted to rob nine banks in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. The sentence was handed down in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Arkansas before Chief U.S. District Judge P. K. Holmes, III.

Day was arrested within days of his August 23, 2011 robbery of Liberty Bank of Arkansas’ location on Old Greenwood Road in Fort Smith. After he was arrested, Day was identified as the individual in the other “Fake Beard Bandit” robbery surveillance photos. Other “Fake Beard Bandit” robberies perpetrated by Day include: First National Bank of Coweta in Oklahoma on May 26, 2011; Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City (Pennsylvania Avenue Branch) on May 26, 2011; Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City (Northwest Expressway Branch) on June 10, 2011; IBC Bank in Oklahoma City on June 29, 2011; Hometown Bank in Joplin, Missouri on July 13, 2011; Bank of Blue Valley in Shawnee, Kansas on July 25, 2011; Bank Midwest in Olathe, Kansas on August 3, 2011, and attempted robbery of River Town Credit Union in Fort Smith, Arkansas on July 22, 2011.

The cases against Day in the Western District of Oklahoma, the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the District of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri were all transferred to the Western District of Arkansas for simultaneous prosecution.

United States Attorney Eldridge commented, “Today, the “Fake Beard Bandit” was held accountable for terrorizing numerous customers and employees of banks across four states. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who put innocent people in harm’s way in the course of armed robbery.”

Per court records, on August 23, 2011, a white male disguised with a fake beard, wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, entered the Liberty Bank of Arkansas on Old Greenwood Road in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The individual, later identified as the defendant, ordered a bank teller to put cash in a bag or he was “going to shoot.” The defendant carried what witnesses described as a black semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at two individuals working at the bank, who complied with the robber’s commands. Before leaving the bank, the defendant told everyone inside to lay on the ground for five minutes. He stated his partner outside the bank was watching and would shoot anyone who stood up.

Detective Story, with the Fort Smith Police Department, determined that the person who robbed the Liberty Bank of Arkansas was likely the “Fake Beard Bandit,” due to the same disguise, grey getaway vehicle and similar mannerisms as that of the individual who attempted to rob the River Town Credit Union in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on July 22, 2011. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that the “Fake Beard Bandit” was also a suspect in bank robberies in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. According to investigative reports, the “Fake Beard Bandit” would enter a bank wearing street clothes and would return to the bank later that same day wearing a disguise that included a fake beard. Surveillance videos and reports from “Fake Beard Bandit” bank robberies indicated that the vehicle driven by the robber was a grey Volkswagen Jetta with an Oklahoma license plate.

Day was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment for each count of armed bank robbery; bank robbery and attempted bank robbery counts, to run concurrent; and ordered to pay $70,500.00 in restitution and a $5,000 fine. The defendant will also be under supervised release for five years upon his release from prison.

This case was investigated by the Fort Smith Police Department; the Coweta, Oklahoma Police Department; the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Police Department; the Joplin, Missouri Police Department; the Olathe, Kansas Police Department; the Shawnee, Kansas Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. Assistant United States Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.

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