The I-Have-A-Bomb Bank Bandit Starts Taxpayer-Funded Trip
Don't press that silent bank alarm
Andrew Adrian Palomino began his criminal career at the age of 12 and, though now just 27 years old, has accumulated 30 losing run-ins with law enforcement in Southern California.
But his most recent series of crimes guarantees Palomino's hefty rap sheet won't grow for awhile.
Inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this week, a judge sent the homeless defendant away to prison for 2012 bank robberies in Fullerton, La Mirada and Whittier, where his "I have a bomb" threat didn't impress a teller and he ended up making stabbing motions with a bank pen to frighten a customer into surrendering cash.
Palomino--the son of a heroin-addicted mother, an alcoholic father and a grandmother who liked to beat him with a belt--wasn't a sophisticated robber. He wore no mask, carried no weapon and used the loot--about $5,170 for all three heists--to support his methamphetamine habit.
Using numerous bank surveillance photographs, FBI special agents arrested the robber in December 2012. After being read his constitutional rights, he confessed. He explained that he committed the robberies because he was "desperate" and assumed he was "only stealing from the government" that insured the financial institutions from loses, according to an FBI report.
Federal prosecutors sought a punishment of 84 months in prison and the defendant's public defenders argued a 70-month term would provide an adequate "wake-up call."
But U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney decided to send Palomino, who has been using narcotics since the age of nine, away for 96 months.
Carney also ordered him to pay restitution.
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