'Limping Bandit' sentenced to 25 years

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man known across the Southeast as the "Limping Bandit" was sentenced to 25 years in prison, federal attorneys announced.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles said Tuesday that Cecil Stephen Haire, 52, of Douglas, Ga,. was sentenced for committing 23 bank robberies throughout the Southeast, thirteen of them in South Carolina.

Haire committed the first of these robberies in June of 2006 when he robbed a BB&T bank in Tifton, Ga.  At the time, Haire was still on parole after being convicted in 1987 for the robbery of three banks in New York and seven businesses in Georgia.

He had served approximately fifteen years in prison for those offenses.

Haire went on to rob two other banks in Georgia, three banks in Alabama, four banks in Florida, and thirteen banks in South Carolina. Haire was arrested on July 17, 2009, after robbing a branch of the National Bank of South Carolina in Mt. Pleasant.

Two witnesses followed Haire's vehicle after he fled the bank, and he was captured by Mt. Pleasant Police while parked in the parking lot of a nursing home.

Police officers located a BB pistol which Haire admitted to using in all of the robberies. Bank surveillance photographs from the earlier robberies appeared to confirm that Haire used the BB pistol to simulate a real firearm.

Haire became known as the "Limping Bandit" after many of the bank tellers described the robber as having a noticeable limp when he left the banks.  Haire's limp is due to his right leg being shorter than his left as a result of childhood polio.

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and many local agencies where the robberies took place.  Assistant United States Attorney Alston C. Badger of the Charleston office handled the case.

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