Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A Douglas, GA man known as "the Limping Bandit" pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to 23 counts of bank robbery, according to U.S. Attorney William N. Nettles.
Cecil Stephen Haire will be sentenced at a later date after a judge as reviewing pre-sentencing reports. Haire faces up to 25 years in prison and $250,000 fines for each count.
Haire admitted to committing the robberies across the Southeast United States beginning in June 2006. Nettles said Haire first robbed three banks in Georgia, and eight more over the next three years in Florida and Alabama, as well as 13 banks in Summerville, Orangeburg, Aiken, Sumter, Edgefield, Camden, Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC.
Haire was stopped after he entered the National Bank of South Carolina on US-17 in Mount Pleasant on July 17, 2009. Nettles said he handed the teller a brown paper bag, pointed a gun at her and demanded that she put money in the bag. After he fled the bank, someone followed him and gave a description of his vehicle to Mount Pleasant Police. Officers located Haire about 20 minutes later sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of a retirement home. Police found the clothing that he wore in a nearby dumpster, as well as a BB gun pistol that he used to commit the robbery.
While he was still a suspect, Haire acquired the nickname "The Limping Bandit" because many of the bank tellers described a noticeable limp in his walk. After his arrest, the FBI confirmed that Haire's limp is a result of childhood polio.
In 1986, Haire was convicted in Georgia for seven counts of armed robbery and one count of bank robbery. He was released on parole in 2006.