News and Press Releases

Crime-Stoppers Publicity Key to Arrest and Conviction of “Can You Hear Me Now?” Bandit

March 23, 2007

MONTORY CATRELL CALDWELL, 25, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to15 years and 8 months in prison for eleven counts of Bank Robbery. CALDWELL was convicted in May 2006, following a six day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The jury deliberated about three hours before reaching a verdict. At sentencing today, CALDWELL read a statement in which he apologized for committing the robberies. This was the first time CALDWELL actually acknowledged that he was, in fact, the person who robbed the banks.

CALDWELL was first identified as a suspect in a string of bank robberies between October 2004 and April 2005, following news reports on the “Can You Hear Me Now?” bank robber. Surveillance photos from the bank robberies depicted the robber slouched over, using a cell phone at various bank branches inside large grocery stores. Because of the cell phone, FBI agents dubbed him the “Can You Hear Me Now? Bandit.”

After the surveillance photos were broadcast in news reports, and posted on news media web sites, numerous people contacted the FBI indicating CALDWELL was the person depicted in the photos. Former girlfriends, friends and family members called CALDWELL and each other commenting that they had seen his photos on television. CALDWELL’s half brother saw the photos on television in the common room at the prison where he is incarcerated and recognized his sibling. In fact, CALDWELL’s half brother is serving time for an armed robbery the two committed together in Snohomish, Washington. CALDWELL was on probation for that conviction when he was identified as a suspect in the string of bank robberies.

Once CALDWELL was identified by the public, investigators compared his mug shot on file with the Washington State Department of Corrections with the surveillance photos and made the match. A search of the apartment where CALDWELL was living turned up items of clothing worn in some of the robberies.

In asking for the lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings wrote to the court about CALDWELL’s prior convictions for armed robbery: “Caldwell... committed these bank robberies shortly after being released from prison, and all while under parole for his armed robbery conviction. Finally, while in jail for these charges, Caldwell broke a man’s jaw because the man talked back to him over Caldwell’s insistence on watching a different channel on a television. Caldwell is cruel, mean, and incorrigible.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Reese Jennings and Bruce Miyake.

For more information please contact David Reese Jennings at (253) 428-3817.

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