Man Who Robbed Hellertown Bank in ’07 is ‘Straw Hat Bandit,’ Authorities Say

Note: This story is based upon an article published on NewtownPANow.com. It has been updated and adapted for local readers.

A former serial bank robber who was convicted of the September 6, 2007 robbery of the former KNBT bank branch at 741 Main St., Hellertown–which today is a BB&T branch–is the so-called “Straw Hat Bandit,” federal authorities say.

Credit: FBI

A bank surveillance photo of the so-called ‘Straw Hat Bandit,’ who the FBI says is convicted serial bank robber Richard Boyle, 57, of Plumstead Township, Bucks County.

Richard Boyle, 57, of Plumstead Township, Bucks County, was arrested by special agents from the FBI Thursday morning and is accused of committing a Southeastern Pennsylvania robbery spree over nearly five years–after he served time in prison for his 2007-2008 robbery spree, which also included a hold-up on Nov. 9, 2007 of what was then a Wachovia bank branch in the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in Upper Saucon Township.

Between 2012 and 2016, federal authorities allege that Boyle hit numerous bank branches in Bucks and Montgomery counties and made off with $495,686 in cash.

His arrest Thursday came a day after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with 11 counts of bank robbery, 10 counts of using or carrying a firearm during the commission of those bank robberies and 10 counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

A law enforcement source confirmed to NewtownPANow.com that Boyle was previously convicted of taking more than $100,000 during the eight-bank robbery spree in Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh and Northampton counties nearly a decade ago.

According to an archived Morning Call news story from August 2008, Boyle was sentenced to 3 1/2 to 10 years in state prison plus 10 years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution to the banks he robbed during that spree by Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley; a spree Boyle’s then-attorney blamed on financial problems and mental illness.

Finley showed leniency toward Boyle–who faced up to 160 years–because he didn’t use a gun in his 2007-2008 robberies, although a teller he robbed who was eight months pregnant had to be medically evaluated after the robbery to make sure she and the baby she was carrying were alright, the Morning Call reported in 2008.

According to the federal indictment handed down Wednesday, in many of the more recent robberies Boyle allegedly used a black semi-automatic handgun when verbally demanding money from tellers.

He is also accused in the indictment of laundering a portion of the money he allegedly stole through an aerial photography business he owns.

The website related to his business is currently offline.

Federal Aviation Administration records list Boyle as a licensed drone pilot.

Boyle was expected to be arraigned in federal court later Thursday.

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