PHILADELPHIA >> Richard Boyle, a/k/a the “Straw Hat Bandit,” 60, of Doylestown, was sentenced on Feb. 5 to 852 months’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $495,000 restitution by United States District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter for committing 11 bank robberies, using a firearm during the commission of 10 of those robberies, and laundering the stolen proceeds.
During a brazen string of 11 separate bank robberies across Bucks and Montgomery counties between 2012 and 2016, the defendant stole a total of $495,686.
A serial bank robber, sometimes referred to as the “Straw Hat Bandit” due to his preferred disguise, Boyle stole that stunning total by using threats of violence, including forcing bank employees to open their vaults and cash-rich ATM machines at gunpoint. He made careful plans to avoid apprehension, utilizing disguises, gloves, and even spreading bleach on the floor of the banks to conceal his DNA.
Immediately prior to some of the 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 stolen money by routing the funds through his photography business, Sky Eye View, in an attempt to conceal the source of this income.
“The days of the ‘Straw Hat Bandit’ terrorizing the Philadelphia suburbs are over,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. “He will no longer be stealing, playing games with the police, or putting innocent lives at risk. Instead, he will be spending the rest of his life in prison – something that he richly deserves.”
“Richard Boyle served time in prison for a prior string of bank robberies,” said Tara McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Once out, he not only picked up where he’d left off, he escalated his crimes – carefully plotting diversions and disguises, and arming himself with a gun. For terrorizing the employees of nearly a dozen banks and putting people’s lives at risk, he’s back behind bars, and this lengthy sentence ensures the so-called ‘Straw Hat Bandit’ won’t ride again anytime soon.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Plymouth Township Police Department with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, the Horsham Police Department, the Lower Makefield Police Department, the Montgomery Township Police Department, the Middletown Police Department, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Newtown Township Police Department, the Upper Dublin Police Department, the Upper Providence Township Police Department, the Whitpain Township Police Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert J. Livermore and Sean P. McDonnell.