The so-called “Bearded Bandit” pleaded guilty to nine counts of bank robbery, including two in Barrington, in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday, March 7, according to U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
Justin L. Worley, 34, was arrested at a Seekonk motel last September by East Providence and Seekonk police. He got the handle of "Bearded Bandit" because he wore the same dark beard and, usually, a knit hat as a disguise.
He admitted to U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, according to the U.S. Attorney, that he robbed eight banks in Rhode Island between April 16 and Sept. 18 last year and one in Seekonk in February, 2012, walking away with $32,633.
Worley reportedly refuted the charges that he threatened bank tellers with bodily harm or death while committing the robberies, although he reportedly told tellers he was carrying a gun. He reportedly never showed a weapon, though.
Worley is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24. He could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison – the maximum penalty for bank robbery, and fined up to $250,000.
Barrington, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Seekonk and Warwick Police Departments and the FBI investigated the bank robberies. He has been in federal custody since last November.
Worley robbed the Bank of America at 257 County Road on July 26 last year. He robbed the TD Bank at 231 County Road -- right next door to Bank of America -- on Sept. 11.
In both instances, he reportedly was in and out of the Barrington banks in a minute or so and fled on foot.