The Pennsylvania man known as the “Silent Bandit” was sentenced Wednesday to nearly six years in federal prison for robbing six banks in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Fawzi Atra told a judge in Scranton 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.
Atra said as he tried to explain the multiple thefts: "I thought there would be enough money in one bank," he said according to the Express-Times.
The Express-Times 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 at branches inside grocery stores in Lehigh and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania and in the Trenton, N.J., area.
Atra was ordered to pay back nearly $10,000 to the banks.
The 43-year-old Bethlehem Township man had no prior criminal record.