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Man gets nine years for bank robbery spree

Included two attempts in Cody

A man who robbed more than $14,000 from six banks last year — including those in Cody and Cheyenne — has been ordered to serve more than nine years in federal prison.

Joshua M. Beckstead, 32, received 112 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release under a sentence from U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper. Skavdahl, in his Thursday order, recommended Beckstead be placed in an Oregon facility and enrolled in a drug treatment program.

 

 

Beckstead had pleaded guilty to five counts of bank robbery related to thefts at First Bank of Wyoming in Cody, the ANB Bank in Cheyenne, and three other institutions in Columbus, Mont., Ogden, Utah, and Maysville, Okla.

Skavdahl ordered Beckstead to pay back the $14,033 he stole from the banks, along with $500 in court assessments.

As part of the plea deal that led to Beckstead pleading guilty, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne agreed to dismiss a sixth charge, which related to an attempted robbery of Cody’s Sunlight Federal Credit Union.

The robberies all took place in May and June 2012.

The FBI has said Beckstead’s method of operation was to hand tellers notes demanding cash. Charging documents indicate Beckstead never displayed a weapon or made any threats of violence.

Beckstead had been jailed in Utah on allegations of passing forged checks last year, but a judge released him from custody on May 8 for a doctor’s appointment.

Beckstead failed to return to the jail, and a week later he robbed the Wasatch Peaks Credit Union in Ogden, Utah, of $991.

On June 9, he robbed the First American Bank in Maysville, Okla., of $3,789.

Six days later, he took $2,836 from Cheyenne’s ANB Bank. Beckstead showed up in Cody on June 19.

Around 9 a.m., he walked into Sunlight Federal Credit Union and handed the teller a note reading something like, “Empty your drawer fast,” according to an affidavit from FBI agent David Donati. However, that early in the day, there was no cash in the drawer and Beckstead left with nothing.

Roughly two hours later, Beckstead entered First Bank of Wyoming’s downtown Cody branch and passed a note to the teller reading something like, “This is a robbery, empty your drawer.”

The teller later told agent Donati the man had been shaking and, speaking softly around a toothpick, said, “I’m here to rob you, give me all your hundreds and fifties.”

Beckstead left with a $3,350 “bait pack” of recorded bills passed to him by the teller.

A week later, Beckstead surfaced in Columbus, Mont., to rob the Altana Federal Credit Union of $3,067.

He used a couple of different identities during the string of robberies, but the FBI, through cooperation with police across the four states, identified Beckstead as their suspect soon after that. A warrant for Beckstead’s arrest on July 3 and the following day, police in Bismarck, N.D., happened upon Beckstead, learned he had a warrant and arrested him.

The Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah, reported a state warrant was issued for Beckstead’s arrest after he failed to return from his “dental appointment” last year to face the check forgery charges.

When he’s released from federal prison (presumably sometime in 2021), Beckstead will have six months to resolve any outstanding warrants he has, Skavdahl said.

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