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Cody bank robber admits guilt

Pleads guilty to five robberies

A Utah man has admitted to robbing banks and credit unions in Cody and Cheyenne earlier this year, along with three others in Montana, Utah and Oklahoma.

Joshua Michael Beckstead, 32, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to five felony counts of bank robbery in the federal U.S. District Court in Casper. Each of the robberies involved Beckstead giving tellers handwritten notes demanding all the cash in their drawers. He apparently was unarmed in each instance.

Beckstead agreed to have all the robbery cases against him transferred to Wyoming for a consolidated plea deal he reached with federal prosecutors. As part of the agreement, a sixth count — related to an attempted robbery at Sunlight Federal Credit Union in Cody — will be dismissed when Beckstead is sentenced. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 27 in Casper.

As per federal court rules in Wyoming, the terms of the agreement that will be presented to District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl — such as recommended prison time — will not be publicly disclosed until sentencing.

The maximum possible penalty for the five counts of robbery is 100 years in prison.

Beckstead had been facing several unrelated criminal charges prior to the robbery spree.

He was arrested in Riverdale, Utah, on March 10 on allegations of passing forged checks and missing several previous court appearances, according to Ogden’s Standard-Examiner.

Over the objections of Weber County, Utah prosecutors, a state judge released Beckstead from jail on May 8. The furlough was intended for Beckstead to receive dental treatment, but he never showed up for his appointment or returned to jail as ordered.

Instead, on May 15, Beckstead robbed cash from the Wasatch Peaks Credit Union in Ogden, Utah.

Weeks later, on June 9, Beckstead stole more than $3,800 from the First American Bank in Maysville, Okla., according to the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat. He used a note with the words, “Give me all the cash in your drawer now.”

On June 15, Beckstead used a similar note to rob Cheyenne’s ANB Bank of $2,836.

On June 19, just before 9 a.m., Beckstead reportedly walked into the Sunlight Federal Credit Union in Cody and handed the teller a note reading something like, “Empty your drawer fast,” according to court records. However, there was no cash in the drawer that early in the day and Beckstead left with nothing.

About two hours later, Beckstead walked into First Bank of Wyoming’s downtown Cody branch and tried again. He handed the teller a note reading something like, “This is a robbery, empty your drawer” and made off with $3,350 from a “bait pack” of recorded bills.

Finally, on June 26, Beckstead stole $3,067 from the Altana Federal Credit Union in Columbus, Mont., court records say.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified Beckstead as a suspect with help that included an Oklahoma citizen’s tip, police in Ogden and the Wyoming bank tellers, who picked the man out of a photo lineup.

Beckstead was arrested by Bismarck, N.D., police on July 4 after a citizen reported him as suspicious.

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