LawFuel.com – 22 August, 2009 – A man with a lengthy criminal record that includes two prior convictions for bank robberies has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for committing a series of bank robberies that earned him the moniker the “Goofy Hat Bandit.”
William Vance Turner, 58, who was residing in Ladera Heights when he was arrested by the FBI in 2007, was sentenced late Monday by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.
Last November, on the morning he was set to go on trial, Turner pleaded guilty to committing six bank robberies in 2006 and 2007. The robberies took place in Glendale (two incidents), Downey, Lakewood, Burbank and Stevenson Ranch. In court papers, prosecutors said investigators believe that Turner is responsible for another 33 bank robberies and one attempted robbery of a Post Office.
Turner earned the Goofy Hat Bandit nickname for consistently wearing hats during his robberies, including various colors of fishing hats, fedoras and baseball caps.
During the robberies, Turner presented notes that asked bank tellers for 100s, 50s and 20s.
Turner has a long criminal record with arrests dating back to 1972. In 1992, he received a 15-year sentence for a bank robbery spree that earned him the name the “Pershing Square Bandit” because many of his targets were in downtown Los Angeles. Turner was on supervised release in that case when he was arrested for being the Goofy Hat Bandit.
The case against Turner is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department. The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Burbank Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, the Pasadena Police Department, the Downey Police Department and the El Segundo Police Department provided substantial assistance during the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Goorvitch