Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Limping Bandit" Pleads Guilty to 23 Bank Robberies

United States Attorney William N. Nettles stated today that Cecil Stephen Haire, age 52, of Douglas, Georgia, pled guilty June 7 in federal court in Charleston, to 23 counts of bank robbery. United States District Judge Sol Blatt of Charleston accepted the plea and will impose sentence at a later date after he has reviewed a presentence report.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Haire traveled across the Southeast committing robberies beginning in June of 2006. The first banks that he robbed were in three small towns in Georgia. Over the next three years, he robbed eight more banks in Florida and Alabama. During that time, he also committed 13 bank robberies throughout South Carolina in Summerville, Orangeburg, Aiken, Sumter, Edgefield, Camden, Charleston, and Mount Pleasant.

His robbing spree came to an end on July 17, 2009. Haire entered the National Bank of South Carolina on Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant. He handed the teller a brown paper bag, pointed a gun at her and demanded that she put money in the bag. After Haire fled the bank, he was followed by an individual who gave a description of his vehicle to the Mount Pleasant Police Department. Approximately 20 minutes later, the police located Haire sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of a retirement home. The police found the clothing that he wore in a nearby dumpster, as well as a BB gun pistol that he used to commit the robbery.

While he was still a suspect, Haire acquired the nickname “The Limping Bandit” because many of the bank tellers described a noticeable limp in his walk. After his arrest, the FBI confirmed that Haire’s limp is a result of childhood polio.

In 1986, Haire was convicted in Georgia for seven counts of armed robbery and one count of bank robbery. He was released on parole in 2006.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Haire can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 25 years for each count.

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Alston C. Badger of the Charleston office handled the case.

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