Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
April 24, 2012
“HOTHEAD BANDIT” SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
PHOENIX – On April 23, 2012, the Honorable Susan R. Bolton sentenced Timothy John Kestle, 57, of Litchfield Park, Ariz., to 144 months in federal prison. Kestle pleaded guilty in January 2012 to four counts of armed bank robbery and one count of bank robbery. The FBI nicknamed Kestle the “Hothead Bandit” after he wore a hat with flames on the side during several of the bank robberies. Kestle robbed banks to fuel his drug and gambling addictions, and had prior convictions for similar conduct in 1975 and 1996.
In 2009-2010, Kestle robbed a total of 17 banks in Phoenix, Goodyear, Peoria, Litchfield Park, Glendale, and Chandler. He typically displayed a pellet gun, or told bank tellers that he had a gun, and ordered them to “hurry up.” During one robbery, he told a victim bank teller “you will die, I will shoot, this is not a joke.”
Kestle was apprehended in June 2010 when an alert Peoria Police Sergeant spotted a truck similar to the one depicted in an FBI Bulletin. The truck was distinctive because Kestle had pool cleaning equipment sticking out the back of his truck. The sergeant saw the truck parked next to a bank, later pulled over the truck for a traffic violation, and arrested Kestle.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Violent Crime/Bank Robbery Task Force, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Peoria Police Department, the Phoenix Police Department, the Chandler Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, and the Goodyear Police Department. The FBI has partnered with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Mesa Police Department, the Phoenix Police Department, the Scottsdale Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to form the Violent Crime/Bank Robbery Task Force in order to investigate, arrest and seek prosecution of those responsible for robbing banks in the Valley. The prosecution was handled by Christina Reid-Moore, Keith Vercauteren, and Jennifer E. Green, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix. For more information on Arizona bank robbery investigations, visit www.bandittrackerarizona.com.
CASE NUMBER: CR-10-0921-SRB
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-103(Kestle)
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az