A 60-year-old man known as the Straw Hat Bandit will likely die in prison after being sentenced for a string of armed bank robberies throughout Bucks County.
Doylestown-native Richard Boyle stole nearly half a million dollars throughout his four year campaign ending in 2016. He earned a 71 year sentence behind bars.
Boyle was meticulous in his planning, even spreading bleach throughout the banks to hide his DNA. He earned the Straw Hat Bandit nickname due to his preferred disguise.
To divert police resources, Boyle would call in false reports at different locations. But these diversions put other people in danger.
In 2012, Boyle called in a bomb threat to St. Mary Medical Center. The evacuation forced ill and injured patients to leave their rooms, and federal authorities had to clear the airspace overhead.
Boyle also made a false report of an active shooter at Temple University in 2013. A response from law enforcement included 20 officers armed with assault rifles. It ended with police pointing their weapons at a maintenance worker who they believed was a suspect.
“The days of the ‘Straw Hat Bandit’ terrorizing the Philadelphia suburbs are over,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “He will no longer be stealing, playing games with the police, or putting innocent lives at risk. Instead, he will be spending the rest of his life in prison – something that he richly deserves.”
This is not Boyle’s first time facing justice for bank robberies. Authorities arrested him in 2008 after a string of robberies, but without the straw hat. For his first round, Boyle did not use a weapon, instead opting for simple notes.
Upon release, it took less than a year for Boyle to return to his old habits. This time, he changed his approach. Boyle brought a gun, and used it to intimidate bank employees.
Tara McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, applauded the sentence.
“For terrorizing the employees of nearly a dozen banks and putting people’s lives at risk, he’s back behind bars, and this lengthy sentence ensures the so-called ‘Straw Hat Bandit’ won’t ride again anytime soon.”