The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 15, 2013

'Bucket List Bandit’ gets 11 years in jail

— PITTSBURGH — A bank robber nicknamed the “Bucket List Bandit” after allegedly telling a Utah teller he had just four months to live was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in federal prison for a string of heists spanning 10 states.

Michael Eugene Brewster’s public defender told the federal judge who handed down the sentence that a medical evaluation found his client didn’t have cancer or any other terminal illness.

Brewster’s case made headlines after the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah, gave Brewster the nickname because of the comment he reportedly made to a Wells Fargo Bank teller during a July 6, 2012, robbery in Roy, Utah. The FBI used the nickname to publicize subsequent robberies until they learned Brewster’s real identity.

“The impetus for the crimes was greed, not grief,” U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin told Brewster. His lawyer, Thomas Patton, declined to comment.

Brewster’s sentence works out to a year for each of the 11 bank heists he committed across the country last year, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he might have received as little as 6½ years. Those guidelines, which take into account a person’s criminal history and the seriousness of the crime, were increased because of the number of banks Brewster robbed, resulting in the longer sentence.

“Given what he did, and his age and all of the circumstances, he’s going to be away a long time and substantially for most of the rest of his life,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said. “We’re satisfied that justice was done.”

Brewster, 54, formerly of Pensacola, Fla., was sentenced in Erie, the city 120 miles north of Pittsburgh where his nationwide robbery string ended Sept. 10. It began June 21, 2012, in Arvada, Colo.

Brewster was arrested three days after the Erie robbery when he ran a stop sign in Roland, Okla. Federal prosecutors brought him back to Erie and easily linked him to the other heists because he was seen wearing the same pale blue polo shirt, glasses and brushed back hair in surveillance videos.

According to court documents, Brewster stole a total of $33,858 and sometimes threatened tellers with violence and claimed to have a gun. Nobody was injured in the robberies.

The smallest amount Brewster stole was $632 from Landmark Bank in Columbia, Mo., on Aug 29, and the most he netted was $7,000 taken during the Utah heist that fueled his nickname.

Although the surveillance videos made it clear that one man was responsible for several robberies, the FBI didn’t know who he was until a tipster saw news coverage of the Pennsylvania heist and gave agents Brewster’s name and birth date.

In some cases, Brewster explained his actions by claiming to be terminally ill and, according to the FBI, specifically told the Utah teller, “I have four months to live.”

AP-WF-08-15-13 1754GMT

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mayor: Rental ban for drug dealers a success

    SUNBURY — A controversial landlord-tenant ordinance passed by the City Council in 2012 has become one of Sunbury’s “better success stories,” Mayor David Persing said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mom cited for allegedly leaving baby in car for 12 minutes

    LEWISBURG — A summary citation carrying a maximum fine of $127.50 was filed Tuesday against a Lewisburg woman accused of leaving her 10-month-old baby unattended for 12 minutes in a car in Union County on July 21.

    July 29, 2014

  • Line Mountain district, teachers $1.2M apart in contract talks

    MANDATA — Separate proposals from the Line Mountain School District and its teachers union are $1.2 million apart and not getting any closer, according to Benjamin L. Pratt, the district’s labor counsel at the CGA Law Firm.

    July 29, 2014

  • Road work: Expect traffic delays on Route 54 near Danville

    RIVERSIDE — Motorists in the Danville-Riverside area are advised that a 2.2-mile micro-surfacing project on Route 54 from Riverside borough to Boyd Station in Northumberland County will begin this afternoon.

    July 29, 2014

  • Blood trail leads to stabbing suspect in Montour County

    DANVILLE — Borough police followed a trail of blood along a sidewalk, up a staircase and down a hallway that led to a moaning woman who they say knifed another woman Sunday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Spencer_Maria1.jpg Maria Spencer charged with murdering her ex-husband

    SELINSGROVE — On Monday, a little more than two years after Frank Spencer was executed outside his Columbia County home, his former wife and her father were charged in his murder and the attempted homicide of Spencer’s girlfriend.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opponents, supporters to discuss clean air rules

    DENVER — Hundreds of people are expected to attend public hearings this week in a handful of cities across the U.S. to tell federal regulators what they think of proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants.

    July 29, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.