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Press Release

“Straw Hat Bandit” Richard Boyle Convicted of 11 Bank Robberies at Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Richard Boyle, 59, of Doylestown, PA was convicted today by a federal jury of 11 separate bank robberies, 10 counts of brandishing, using, and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and 10 counts of money laundering. The sentencing hearing is scheduled on July 15, 2019 before the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter.

The defendant was a serial bank robber, sometimes referred to as the “Straw Hat Bandit.” During 11 separate bank robberies, the defendant stole a total of $495,686. He was able to steal that stunning total by threats of violence, including taking over the bank and forcing bank employees at gunpoint to open the vaults and cash-rich ATM machines. The defendant made careful plans to avoid apprehension, including wearing disguises, gloves, and even spreading bleach on the floor of the banks to conceal his DNA. Immediately prior to certain bank robberies, the defendant attempted to slow the police response time to the bank robbery alarms by calling police or security about false reports, including a bomb threat at a country club, a planned attack at a mall, and a man with a gun at Temple University. After the robberies, the defendant laundered the proceeds of his robberies by routing the funds through his photography business, Sky Eye View, in an attempt to conceal the source of this income.

“The defendant’s conduct in this case was outrageous,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “From robbing banks and holding innocent bank employees at gunpoint to calling in hoax threats to divert law enforcement resources and slow response time, Boyle had no regard for the safety of anyone in the community. He only cared about lining his own pockets with stolen cash. We are grateful that the jury held him accountable for his many crimes.”

“Eight and a half years ago, Richard Boyle stood in a different courtroom, having confessed to a string of bank robberies,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “He said he wished he could’ve made better choices. But after serving out his prison sentence, he was soon robbing banks again--this time, in disguises and at gunpoint. Given the chance to do and be better, he instead chose to escalate his crimes. In doing so, he terrorized the employees of nearly a dozen banks and put people’s lives at risk. The FBI appreciates that this jury, having weighed the considerable evidence against Mr. Boyle, chose to find him guilty as charged.”  

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Livermore and Sean McDonnell.

Updated March 15, 2019