FBI nabs ‘Straw Hat Bandit’
Richard Boyle allegedly robbed 11 area banks
The man believed to be the “Straw Hat Bandit,” robbing 11 banks in Montgomery and Bucks counties over a four-year period, was arrested Thursday by federal authorities.
Richard Boyle, 57, of Doylestown, was taken into custody April 20 by the FBI following the return of an indictment by a federal grand jury April 19, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was charged with 11 counts of bank robbery, 10 counts of using or carrying a firearm during the commission of the bank robberies, and 10 counts of money laundering.
Eight years ago Richard Boyle was sentenced in Bucks County Court to 3½ to 10 years in state prison, plus 10 years’ probation for stealing more than $102,000 from eight banks in Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton and Lehigh counties in 2007 and 2008, according to published reports.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed it was the same man arrested by the FBI Thursday.
Boyle allegedly stole a total of $495,686 during the 11 bank robberies, which occurred in Montgomery and Bucks counties between 2012 and 2016, according to the indictment. It further alleges that he laundered a portion of the proceeds from the robberies through his aerial photography business, in an attempt to hide the source of the funds.
The first robbery attributed to the “Straw Hat Bandit,” so-named from a disguise he had used, was committed June 8, 2012, at Colonial American Bank, 300 Welsh Road, in Horsham. The second came three months later, on Sept. 28, at the First Federal Bank, 803 Park Avenue in Wrightstown.
At the start of 2013, on Jan. 18, the same man is believed to have held up the Wells Fargo Bank, 706 Stony Hill Road in Yardley, and then on March 30 robbed the PNC Bank, 1015 S. Bethlehem Pike in Ambler.
May 24, 2013, two banks were robbed, the Harleysville Savings Bank, 1889 E. Ridge Pike in Royersford, and the Univest Bank, 4285 Township Line Road in Schwenksville.
Three months later, he struck again, this time, Aug. 30, 2013, at the Wells Fargo Bank, 25 W. Skippack Pike in Ambler.
Five months passed before the suspect held up the First Priority Bank, 10 Sentry Parkway in Blue
Bell on Jan. 2, 2014. The next robbery attributed to him came a year later on Jan. 6, 2015, when he held up the Wells Fargo Bank, 481 W. Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting. Six months later, July 3, 2015, he robbed the Wells Fargo Bank in Dresher.
The last robbery believed to be by the same suspect was July 2, 2016, at the PNC Bank, 1216 Welsh Road, North Wales.
The suspect associated with the holdups was often reported to brandish a black semi-automatic pistol and order everyone to the floor before demanding money from the tellers.
According to the indictment, Boyle had a photography business, Sky Eye View, based at his home in Doylestown, that took in little revenue between 2012 and 2016, so “to conceal the source of the bank robbery proceeds,” he pretended the money he stole came from his photography business. He allegedly used his own credit cards to process some of the money through a financial services company.
The case was investigated by the FBI’S Violent Crimes Task Force, in conjunction with the Horsham, Newtown, Lower Makefield, Upper Dublin, Upper Providence, Whitpain, Plymouth, and Montgomery township police departments; Pennsylvania State Police; and the Montgomery County Bucks County District Attorney’s Offices. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Livermore.
Surveillance photo of the suspected Straw Hat Bandit during the July 2, 2016 robbery of the PNC Bank in North Wales.