‘Bearded Bandit’ sentenced to 62 years in prison

CHARLOTTE – The “Bearded Bandit” was sentenced to 62 years in prison for his involvement in the armed robberies of two Charlotte area banks and a credit union, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, on Sept. 23.
Michael Gene Terrelonge, 43, of Charlotte, also was ordered to pay $16,875 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
“Over a period of five years, the ‘Bearded Bandit’ engaged in a series of bank robberies that terrorized our community,” Tompkins said. “The 62-year sentence imposed on Mr. Terrelonge ensures that he will no longer be able to threaten our citizen’s safety.”
Terrelonge’s co-conspirator Latries George pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges in August 2010 and was sentenced to 66 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,313 in restitution, officials said.
On Oct. 19, 2010, after a two-day trial, a federal jury found Terrelonge guilty of robbing each bank at gunpoint. According to trial evidence and court documents, Terrelonge was caught by police while running away from an Oct. 9, 2009, robbery of a Wachovia Branch on Couloak Drive in the Mountain Island area. Officers also found a get-away van, driven by George, along with the hat, mask and glove and 9-mm semiautomatic pistol Terrelonge used to rob the bank. He also had a loaded .38 special revolver, which was hidden in the waistband of his pants and wore a bulletproof vest.
Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Terrelonge admitted to being the “Bearded Bandit” and provided the details of his involvement in a number of area armed bank robberies between 2004 and 2009, including the Clearview Federal Credit Union at 2830 Boyer St. and the RBC Bank branch at 1000 East Blvd.
Terrelonge has been kept in federal custody since his arrest. After officials designate a federal facility, he will be transferred into the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons without the possibility of parole.

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