Pa. man known as 'Silent Bandit' sent to prison

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A man known as the “Silent Bandit” has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for robbing six banks in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Fawzi Atra told a judge in Scranton today that he staged his two-week robbery spree because he owed the government $11,000 for unemployment benefits he’d received in error while out of work.

The Express-Times of Easton reports that U.S. District Judge James Munley called Atra’s conduct outrageous and told the suspect he was either stupid or had a character defect.

The robberies took place in April at banks in Bethlehem, Warminster, Quakertown and Mount Pocono in Pennsylvania as well as Marlton and Pennington in New Jersey.

Atra was ordered to pay back nearly $10,000 to the banks.

The 43-year-old Bethlehem Township man had no prior criminal record.

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