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Granddad Bandit Caught in Louisiana

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on August 12, 2010 1:16 PM

The news has come that Granddad is in custody. Not just anyone's granddad, but the so-called Granddad Bandit who was wanted in connection with the robbery of 25 banks in 13 eastern and southern states. This bank robber now in federal custody should not be confused with the Geezer Bandit. The Geez is a West Coast operator and at last check, still at large.

The Granddad Bandit has been identified as 53-year-old Michael Mara, according to the Associated Press. Mara was captured at his home in Baton Rouge, La. on August 11, after a standoff with police and federal agents ended peacefully. The arrest was for a bank robbery in Virginia, but Mara is also a suspect in other robberies.

The Granddad Bandit used his grandfatherly persona to his advantage, blending into the other customers at the banks he robbed, making his demands quietly and then disappearing quickly on foot. He was described by the FBI as 45-to-60-year-old white man, about 6 feet tall and 230 pounds, balding with short grayish hair on the sides. He usually wore wire-rimmed glasses, short-sleeved collared shirts and ball caps. "He just looks like everyone's granddad," supervisory special agent Amanda Moran in Virginia told the AP last week.

Although the M.O. of quiet, orderly robberies was quite efficient -- Mara is suspected of robberies of banks in Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, New York and Florida since April 2009, but there is of course a downside to using no disguise. The FBI was able to post his picture on billboards across the country based upon surveillance footage, leading to his identification.

Bank robbery is a federal crime, dealing as it does with the money in interstate commerce and the fact that most banks are federally insured. United States Code Title 18, § 2113 prohibits the taking or attempted taking by force, intimidation, or extortion, of any property, money or any other thing of value belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management or possession of any bank. This includes savings and loans and credit unions, just in case the semantics are confusing to potential criminals.

Given that his crime is a federal one and that he could be potentially charged with several additional ones, Granddad is looking at a long spell behind bars. FBI Special Agent Sheila Thorne told CNN Michael Mara could receive a 20-year sentence if convicted on the single count he is currently charged with.

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