‘Fake Beard Bandit’ Enters Guilty Plea to Seven Armed Bank Robberies in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 23, 2012|
FORT SMITH, AR—Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Jason Day pleaded guilty today to seven counts of armed bank robbery, one count of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery. Chief United States District Court Judge Paul K. Holmes accepted the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Day faces up to 25 years’ imprisonment for each count of armed bank robbery and 20 years’ imprisonment each for the bank robbery and attempted bank robbery counts.
United States Attorney Eldridge commented, “We are dedicated to prosecuting crimes such as this that threaten our communities. The defendant in this case engaged in a string of robberies across four states. We will continue to work together to pursue individuals that engage in this type of criminal activity.”
Per court records, on August 23, 2011, a white male disguised with a fake beard, wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, entered the Liberty Bank of Arkansas on Old Greenwood Road in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The individual, later identified as the defendant, ordered a bank teller to put cash in a bag or he was “going to shoot.” The defendant carried what witnesses described as a black semiautomatic handgun and pointed it two individuals working at the bank, who complied with the robber’s commands. Before leaving the bank, the defendant told everyone inside the bank to lie on the ground for five minutes. He stated his partner outside the bank was watching and would shoot anyone who stood up.
Detective Story, with the Fort Smith Police Department, determined that the person who robbed the Liberty Bank of Arkansas was likely the “Fake Beard Bandit,” due to the same disguise, grey getaway vehicle, and similar mannerisms as that of the individual who attempted to rob the River Town Credit Union in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on July 22, 2011. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that the “Fake Beard Bandit” was also a suspect in bank robberies in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. According to investigative reports, the “Fake Beard Bandit” would enter a bank wearing street clothes and would return to the bank later that same day wearing a disguise that included a fake beard. Surveillance videos and reports from “Fake Beard Bandit” bank robberies indicated that the vehicle driven by the robber was a grey Volkswagen Jetta with an Oklahoma license plate.
A warrant for Day’s arrest was authorized by Chief United States Magistrate Judge James R. Marschewski on August 26, 2011 and the defendant was arrested at his residence in Tulsa, Oklahoma the same day. After he was arrested, Day was identified as the individual in the other “Fake Beard Bandit” robbery surveillance photos. Other “Fake Beard Bandit” robberies perpetrated by Day include: First National Bank of Coweta in Oklahoma on May 26, 2011; Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City (Pennsylvania Avenue Branch) on May 26, 2011; Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City (Northwest Expressway Branch) on June 10, 2011; IBC Bank in Oklahoma City on June 29, 2011; Hometown Bank in Joplin, Missouri on July 13, 2011; Bank of Blue Valley in Shawnee, Kansas on July 25, 2011; and Bank Midwest in Olathe, Kansas on August 3, 2011. The cases against Day in the Western District of Oklahoma, the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the District of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri were all transferred to the Western District of Arkansas for simultaneous prosecution.
This case was investigated by the Fort Smith Police Department, the Coweta, Oklahoma Police Department, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Police Department, the Joplin, Missouri Police Department, the Olathe, Kansas Police Department, the Shawnee, Kansas Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. Assistant United States Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.