Robber Dubbed “Alabama Band Robber” Pleads Guilty To 2014 Bank Robbery Spree
Defendant Arrested after Fleeing from Police on Multiple Occasions
A serial bank robber dubbed the “Alabama Band Robber” because of a hat he wore, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five counts of bank robbery and one count of possession of a stolen firearm, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. MICHAEL RYAN HARDESTY, 40, of Woodinville, Washington was arrested August 19, 2014, after law enforcement linked him to five bank robberies in King, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties. When HARDESTY is sentenced on April 23, 2015, both sides agree to recommend a sentenced between nine and 13 years in prison. However, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez is not bound by the recommendation and can impose any sentence allowed by law.
According to records filed in the case, HARDESTY was identified as a suspect in multiple bank robberies after the FBI released surveillance photos from the banks and dubbed him the “Alabama Band Robber” because of a hat that had the band’s distinctive name above the brim. He wore the hat in the July 11, 2014 robbery. A tipster identified the robber from the photos. HARDESTY pleaded guilty to the following robberies:
Bank of America, Martha Lake Branch, Lynnwood, July 7, 2014
Whidbey Island Bank, North Seattle Branch, July 11, 2014
Washington Federal, Bakerview Branch, Bellingham, July 18, 2014
Washington Federal, Lakeview Branch, Bellingham, July 25, 2014
Wells Fargo, Martha Lake Branch, Lynnwood, July 30, 2014
Law enforcement identified two cars associated with HARDESTY. One car was located in Burlington, Washington, but HARDESTY was able to evade police. Later, the Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force (SCVOTF) located HARDESTY on I-5 in Snohomish County. He fled on foot and was ultimately apprehended by a K-9 who tracked him to the 12700 block of 3rd Avenue West. Law enforcement discovered a stolen firearm in HARDESTY’s belongings. A total of nearly $35,000 was stolen in the five robberies.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.
Several agencies were involved in the bank robbery investigation, as well as searching for the suspect, including the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force, King County Sheriff’s Office, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Bellingham Police, Mt. Vernon Police, Burlington Police and Child Protective Services. The Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force is a multi-agency unit partnership with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Corrections.