Vaulter Ban­dit gets 15 years for bank rob­bery spree

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JEREMY GRIMALDI Vaughan Ci­ti­zen

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.

METROLAND ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Jef­frey Shu­man robbed banks in Hamil­ton and across Canada.

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