‘Bearded Bandit' Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison

The man who authorities dubbed the “Bearded Bandit” will spend 70 months in prison after he began a string of San Diego bank robberies hours after he was released from custody, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Christopher Andrew Gibson, 27, of Vista was sentenced Tuesday and ordered to pay restitution to three banks, from which he stole more than $7,500.

Just hours after being released from the George Bailey Detention Facility, where he served time for unrelated charges, Gibson carried out his first robbery. 

On Oct. 7, 2014, he walked into the Wells Fargo Bank on Saturn Boulevard in San Diego and handed the teller a note that said something like, “I know your training. No dye packs, no GPS devices. I want $4,567. Hurry cause I’m not waiting all day," according to his plea agreement. 

The bandit escaped with about $1,419. He was soon nicknamed the “Bearded Bandit” when his scruffy face was caught on surveillance cameras.

A week later, Gibson pulled off a heist at a Chase Bank on South Melrose Drive in Vista, his plea deal says. He handed the teller a similar note that demanded $4,788 in 15 seconds. He got away with about $2,240.

Gibson’s third and final robbery happened on Nov. 6, 2014, at another Chase Bank on Vista Way. Again, he gave an employee a note that in effect said, “Don’t be stupid and press any buttons. I know your training so just cooperate. I want $4,000 and no GPS devices or dye packs. No fake bills. I’m counting to 30,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a release.

This time he got his desired amount and fled.

The FBI’s investigation led agents to Gibson, and four days after the final hold-up, he was taken into custody. None of the demand notes have been recovered.

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