Vaulter Bandit gets 15 years for bank robbery spree
NEWMARKET — After Donna Richards’ bank was robbed by the “Vaulter Bandit,” she couldn’t sleep and would often have to “self-medicate” with alcohol.
“The images imprinted in my mind of watching a colleague turn white and pale with absolute fear, or thinking that when he had us turn around and face the wall that I could die,” she wrote.
It was this quote Justice Cindy Johnston chose to read out Tuesday at Newmarket Courthouse before handing Jeffrey Shuman, a.k.a. the Vaulter Bandit, a sentence of 15 years in prison. The Crown requested 17.5 years while the defence suggested 10 years.
This after Shuman pleaded guilty to stealing about $450,000 from a series of banks in the Hamilton, Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Calgary between 2010 and 2015 before being caught by York Regional Police. He was nabbed after his fingerprint was located on a binder he mistakenly left at a bank.
The sentence was based on a number of aggravating factors, including Johnston’s opinion that Shuman — formerly dubbed the Reebok Bandit in the United States in the 1990s after robbing 14 banks in Florida and Tennessee — had a low chance for rehabilitation.
“The defendant appears to have robbed these banks to live a relatively luxurious lifestyle,” she said. “(That includes) the defendant’s purchase of a Rolex watch for which he paid $11,000 at Yorkdale Mall.” She also describes how using a firearm, even though it was an air gun, during the robberies was “calculated to instil fear.”
However, there were also mitigating circumstances considered.
Shuman did not use gratuitous violence, waited until customers left banks before robbing them and pleaded guilty.
Shuman, 55, who is an American and French dual citizen, is expected to spend just more than 12 years in prison after credit for pretrial custody is considered.
Shuman’s lawyer, Stephen Proudlove, said the sentence was higher than expected and he’s considering whether to appeal.
Jeffrey Shuman robbed banks in Hamilton and across Canada.