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Press Release

Black Hat Bandit Gunman Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison

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

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Thomas Anthony George, 65, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 384 months in prison for two counts of using a firearm during the commission of armed bank robberies. George was also ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $182,104.48.

“Thomas George has been robbing banks for most of his adult life,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I want to thank our prosecutors and investigative partners for their efforts on this case and for bringing this violent serial bank robber to justice.”    

George pleaded guilty on Sept. 24, 2015.  According to court documents, in approximately January 2015, George entered a conspiracy to commit armed bank robberies within the Eastern District of Virginia, and elsewhere.  Over the course of the ensuing two months, George and his co-conspirators, who were known as the Black Hat Bandits, robbed nine banks, including six banks in the Eastern District of Virginia, two banks in the District of Maryland, and one bank in the District of Columbia.  In each of these robberies, George brandished a firearm at bank customers or employees of the bank.  In total, George and his co-conspirators stole approximately $182,104 during the nine bank robberies.        

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tobias D. Tobler and Jonathan L. Fahey prosecuted the case.

The investigation was worked jointly by the FBI's Washington and Baltimore Field Offices, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfax County Police Department, Falls Church Police Department, Loudoun County Police Department, the Metropolitan Police Department, Vienna Police Department and Virginia State Police.  Additional assistance was provided by Arlington County Police Department, Maryland State Police and the Montgomery County Police Department.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-CR-87.

Updated December 17, 2015

Violent Crime