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Tag: Lawrence Kobilinsky

America’s Love Affair With Some Serial Bank Robbers

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

By Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

On the ever-popular Facebook, words of support, encouragement and disbelief plaster a wall with 2,700-plus followers dedicated to the elderly, ever-elusive San Diego bank robber dubbed the “Geezer Bandit”.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this guy,” wrote one Facebook fan. “And he just became my personal hero.”

“Financial crisis in the US,” another admirer commented. “The old guy rips off banks. I would say totally understandable.”

Similarly, more than 93,000 Facebook users have joined one of the many pages dedicated to the nefarious activities of Colton Harris-Moore, aka the “Barefoot Bandit”, who was recently apprehended in the Bahamas.

The Geezer Bandit and the Barefoot Bandit are among the latest arrivals in a decades long phenomena — America’s selective love affair with serial bank robbers — an infatuation that took hold in the 1930s with such legends as Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Books have been written. Movies have been made.

“Fascination and hero-worship for undeserving criminals is a pathetic piece of our popular culture,” James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern recently wrote in a blog entry on boston.com. “All sorts of offenders, no matter how despicable their crimes, have been revered by a sizable minority of Americans.”

Read more »

255 Years and Counting

mpdbadgeBy Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com

Apparently a life sentence is not enough anymore. Bernie Madoff’s 150-year sentence earlier this week seemed unthinkable- that is until Arthur Sease IV’s came along.

The former Memphis Police Department officer was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Memphis to life in prison plus 255 years for robbing drug dealers and reselling their cocaine and marijuana between November 2003 and April 2006, according to authorities. He was found guilty in February 2009.

The trend of exorbitant sentences of late has caught the interest of more than just judges.

“The issue is not in the number of years, it’s in the message,” said Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor and chairman of Criminology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “You’ve got the public trust…I think being a police officer is different.”

Sease’s 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery and firearms offenses led to one of the most extreme sentences for civil rights and other violations that did not involve any deaths.

“We will aggressively pursue and convict those officers and agents who violate the law and the public’s trust,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi in a prepared statement. “We have entrusted law enforcement officers with our safety and protection and we demand that they perform their duties honestly and truthfully.”

Prosecutors said that even though Sease was fired in 2005, he directed others to continue with the robberies and drug deals through 2006, according to the Associated Press.

Five other individuals — three of them former Memphis police officers — have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced in this case, though none received sentences anywhere near as harsh as Sease’s.