News and Press Releases

'Granddad Bandit’ Sentenced to 25 Years for Robbing 25 Banks in 14 States

May 11, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. – Michael Francis Mara, 53, of Baton Rouge, La., a/k/a the “Granddad Bandit,” was sentenced today to 300 months’ imprisonment, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $83,868, for robbing 25 banks in 14 states.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Division; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Norfolk Division; and David W. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New Orleans Division, made the announcement after the sentencing by Chief United States District  Judge James R. Spencer.

“Mr. Mara stole tens of thousands of dollars in a brazen crime spree that included robberies in more than a dozen states in just over two years,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “One robbery alone is a very traumatic experience, and it takes a long time for the victim to feel safe going to work. Thanks to the great work of the FBI and an alert public, Mr. Mara will spend the rest of his productive life behind bars as punishment for his extensive crimes.”

“Mr. Mara’s multi-state crime spree of 25 bank robberies was quickly halted when our community partner, The Outdoor Advertising Agency of America, agreed to profile an unknown subject dubbed the “Granddad Bandit” on digital billboards throughout the country,” said SAC Morehart.  “As a result, within 24 hours, the “Granddad Bandit” was identified and agencies began coordinating efforts for Mara’s capture.  Awareness, engagement and communication are the keys of law enforcements successes, and these successes cannot be accomplished without the assistance of the community.”

Mara pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement on February 10, 2011, to two counts of bank robbery.  As part of the plea agreement, Mara will not be prosecuted for the robberies he committed in other jurisdictions; however, all of those robberies factored into his sentence in the present case.

                According to court documents Mara admitted that he robbed at least 26 banks throughout the country, including two in Virginia.  Many of the robberies were caught on surveillance video. He admitted to entering each bank and providing a bank teller with a note announcing a robbery and demanding various sums of money. Once the demands were met, Mara would retrieve the demand note and exit the bank quietly. Mara admitted in court that he stole $83,868 in cash through his robberies.

After a bank robbery on June 22, 2010, in Glen Allen, Va., the FBI coordinated an extensive fugitive publicity campaign through the use of digital billboards to solicit help from the public in identifying and locating the man they dubbed the “Granddad Bandit.” On Aug. 2, 2010, the Norfolk FBI Field Office received information from a tipster who identified Mara as the robber and provided, among other things, photographs. These were compared with surveillance footage and investigators found consistent key identifiers between the surveillance images and the photographs of Mara, including a hat, eyeglasses, and wrist watch that appear to be identical.
This case was investigated by the FBI, Richmond Police Department, and Henrico County Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Roderick Young prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

                A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on



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