‘Double Hat Bandit’ pleads guilty to robbing 18 banks, 4 in Utah

Surveillance footage of the serial bank robber dubbed the "Double Hat Bandit." Shayne Carson pleaded guilty to 18 robberies across several states, including Utah. Circa 2016, location of photo on the left is West Valley, Utah, location of the other photo not specified | File photos courtesy of Sandra Barker, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — A 54-year-old man known as the “Double Hat Bandit” pleaded guilty Friday to robbing banks and credit unions in seven states.

Shayne Carson said in his plea agreement filed in federal court in Utah that he stole from 18 banks from Oregon to Iowa. The crime spree went from October 2016 until shortly before his arrest last September.

The plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors resolves four robberies in Oregon, three in Colorado, three in Washington, one in Idaho, two in Iowa, one in Ohio and four in Utah, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City. He received between $834 and $8,377 in each of the robberies.

Carson admitted to a Dec. 19, 2016, robbery of US Bank in West Valley City and two Dec. 27, 2016, robberies of US Bank locations in West Jordan. He returned to Utah to rob a US Bank at 922 East 2100 South in Salt Lake City on June 21, 2017, the statement reads.

Twice he hit two banks in one day.

The majority of the robberies took place at banks inside grocery stores and involved a man wearing two hats — typically a beanie over a baseball cap. Several robberies took place at banks inside grocery stores.

Carson said he frequently told bank tellers he had a gun and demanded they hand over money in their till. Officials said they believe the handgun was a fake.

The plea deal stipulates that he will be sentenced to between 12 and 15 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Aug. 15. The amount of restitution Carson will be ordered to pay will be determined at the hearing.

He was arrested by an FBI task force in a motel parking lot in Indiana.

During its investigation, the FBI located a Facebook account under the name of “Shayne Carson,” where photos posted on the account matched surveillance images captured during the bank robberies, according to the criminal complaint filed when he was arrested.

Court records also show that Carson provided a telephone number in January during an arrest in Salem, Oregon, for driving under the influence of intoxicants, a number that was included in the police report obtained by the FBI at the end of August. Phone records show that many calls were made from the same areas where multiple bank robberies were reported, the complaint said.

On Sept. 1, agents contacted Carson’s parole officer and discovered that he was extradited to Texas from Oregon after his DUI arrest for violating his parole and was in custody in May. He became a fugitive in June when he walked away from a halfway house. There were no bank robberies committed during that period he was in custody, according to the complaint.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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