Home Phoenix Press Releases 2010 “Skeletor Bandit” Indicted

“Skeletor Bandit” Indicted
Defendant Charged with Robbing Banks in Flagstaff, Prescott, and the Valley

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 22, 2010
  • District of Arizona (602) 514-7500

PHOENIX—A federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a six-count indictment against Russell James Dean, 51, of Lincoln, California, charging him with multiple bank robberies in Arizona. Dean is accused of being the “Skeletor Bandit” responsible for robbing six banks.

The indictment alleges that between October 22 and December 11, 2010, Dean robbed six banks in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott, and Surprise.

In the first four robberies, Dean wore a Halloween-style rubber mask with a black hooded sweatshirt while displaying a gun. The robber was dubbed the “Skeletor Bandit” based on the mask’s resemblance to a cartoon character from the 1980s. In the last two robberies, Dean wore a fake beard, wig, and nose along with a New York Yankees cap and told witnesses he was armed.

“The indictment alleges that the defendant used a weapon during his robbery and placed innocent lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “Flamboyant disguises may conceal one’s identity but bank robberies, regardless of sophistication, are no match for the dedication and expertise of the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force and our local police departments in Northern Arizona.”

The suspect was charged and held in custody and is scheduled for trial on February 1, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone in Phoenix.

“This indictment is an example of the commitment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force to investigate and prosecute alleged serial bank robbers,” said FBI Phoenix Special Agent-in-Charge Nathan Gray. “The FBI is proud to work with our law enforcement partners throughout the state of Arizona to reduce bank robberies.”

A conviction for armed bank robbery carries a maximum penalty of 25 years, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for bank robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, or both.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force, which includes the Phoenix Police Department, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Mesa Police Department, and the Scottsdale Police Department. The Flagstaff Police Department, Prescott Police Department, and Surprise Police Departments are also working on this investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Alison S. Bachus, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER: CR 10-1828-PHX-FJM
RELEASE NUMBER: 2010-272 (Dean)