Bank robber dubbed 'Alabama Band Bandit' sentenced to decade in prison after tips led to his identity, arrest

Alabama-band-bandit2SENTENCING UPDATE June 11, 2015 -- Michael Hardesty, a.k.a 'The Alabama Band Bandit' was sentenced to 10 years in prison for for his 2014 bank robbery spree. CAPTURE UPDATE January 20, 2014 -- A serial bank robber dubbed the “Alabama Band Bandit” because of a hat he wore, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five counts of bank robbery and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. 40 year old Michael Hardesty of Woodinville was arrested August 19, 2014, after King County detectives who were working the case say Q13 FOX News viewers identified the bank robber featured on Washington's Most Wanted. Law enforcement linked him to five bank robberies in King, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties. When Hardesty is sentenced on April 23, both sides agree to recommend a sentence between 9 and 13 years in prison. He was identified after the FBI released surveillance photos from the banks and dubbed him the “Alabama Band Bandit” because of a hat that had the country music band’s distinctive name above the brim.  He wore the hat in the July 11, 2014 robbery. Hardesty pleaded guilty to the following robberies:

    FUGITIVE CAPTURED August 19, 2014 -- The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office says the man suspected of robbing at least five banks last month was arrested on Tuesday. King County detectives who were working the case say Q13 FOX News viewers identified the bank robber featured on WMW that eventually led to his arrest. Nicknamed the “Alabama Band Bandit,” the 40 year-old Woodinville man was apprehended by the Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force near 128th St SW and I-5 around 1 p.m. Area law enforcement had been on the look-out for the suspect and earlier today a vehicle believed to be associated with the suspect was located in Burlington.  However, the suspect managed to evade authorities and escaped the area. Meanwhile, the SCVOTF identified another vehicle associated with the suspect and located that vehicle near the 100 block of 128th St SE.  When the suspect arrived in the area, the task force attempted to take him into custody.  The suspect fled the area on foot, but was apprehended after a K9 unit tracked him to the 12700 block of 3rd Ave W. A gun that the suspect threw during the chase was recovered. The sheriff's office says the suspect has been turned over to the FBI. He was dubbed the “Alabama Band Bandit” because of the hat he wore during one of the robberies. WANTED IN KING COUNTY July 26, 2014 --  Authorities are on the lookout for an accused three-time bank robber who's wanted in King County. Detectives say these photos were snapped during his most recent heist in Bellingham last week where he wore a Navy hat and had white/blonde hair coming out the back. His hair was short and he wore a hat with the logo of the country music band 'Alabama' on it when he robbed a bank in Shoreline two weeks ago -- just days after another heist in Martha Lake. "This guy is going into the banks and giving a note letting them know it's a robbery and then he's threatening to shoot the tellers if they don't cooperate," said King County Sgt. DB Gates. "We know of at least one getaway vehicle that he's used that's a distinctive Nissan Pathfinder that's blue and it stuck out because the whole hood of it was black. We also know he has a getaway driver in at least two of these robberies believed to be a white female." He also has scars on his left cheek. Three heists already and detectives are certain there will be more if he isn't stopped.

    The FBI is now offering a $5,000 reward for his capture. If you recognize him or his unique getaway ride with the black hood that detectives say had a woman behind the wheel, call an anonymous tip into: CRIME STOPPERS: 1-800-222-TIPS You must call the crime stoppers hotline with your tip to be eligible to receive a cash reward for information leading to a fugitive’s arrest. Click here for information on how to text a tip to crime stoppers.