Bucket List Bandit suspect served prison time in Kentucky

Suspect in 10 robberies indicted in PA.

October 4, 2012 

ERIE, Pa. — A man nicknamed the Bucket List Bandit by the FBI because he reportedly told a Utah bank teller he had only months to live during a July heist has been returned to Pennsylvania and indicted on the last of 10 bank robberies he's suspected of committing.

Michael Eugene Brewster, 54, faces a single count of bank robbery for the Sept. 10 robbery at the Huntingdon National Bank branch in Erie. A federal grand jury returned the indictment Tuesday.

Brewster's record includes a conviction in Lexington on three counts of theft by deception for writing bad checks worth more than $300, according to Kentucky Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb.

Brewster could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the bank-robbery charges. He was being held in jail Wednesday until his Thursday detention hearing before a federal magistrate in Erie, according to online court records. Brewster's federal public defender has refused to comment on the case.

The FBI has said Brewster is suspected of nine more robberies in eight other states since June 21, but authorities couldn't immediately say Wednesday whether or when he'll be charged in those cases.

FBI agents in Erie were the first to identify Brewster by name. They issued a warrant for his arrest after someone called their office and gave agents Brewster's name and birth date after hearing news coverage of the northwestern Pennsylvania robbery.

Brewster was arrested Sept. 13 by police in Roland, Okla., near the Arkansas line, when a police officer learned of the bank robbery arrest warrant after pulling over Brewster for running a stop sign near a casino.

Court records show that Michael Brewster has a long criminal history, including the prison time in Kentucky, and warrants for being a fugitive from justice in Colorado and for drug and property crimes in Florida.

The FBI said the robbery string began in Arvada, Colo., not long after he took a rented SUV from an acquaintance in Pensacola, Fla., his last known address. By July 6, surveillance video showed a man with the same appearance — grayish, thinning hair, generally combed or brushed backward, wearing glasses and a blue polo shirt with a front pocket — had robbed banks in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Pocatello, Idaho; and Roy, Utah. That's where a teller claimed that the robber told her, "I have four months to live" after passing her a note demanding money.

The robberies resumed later that month in Winston-Salem, N.C., and continued through late August in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Bloomington, Ill.; and Columbia and O'Fallon, Mo., the FBI said.

Nobody was hurt in the robberies, and the total amount of money taken hasn't been released, although the indictment said Brewster took $4,080 from the Erie bank.

Thursday's detention hearing will probably result in Brewster remaining incarcerated until he can stand trial. Federal prosecutors must prove that Brewster is either a danger to the community or a risk to flee prosecution for the judge to order continued detention.

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