‘Burly Bandit’ Put On Prison Diet

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PORTLAND, Maine – A hefty Greyhound bus driver who stole more than $107,000 during a string of 12 credit union and bank heists earlier this year while wearing a variety of disguises was convicted on multiple bank robbery charges last week.

Robert Ferguson, 47, of Lowell, Mass., known as the “Burly Bandit” because of his girth, told police he spent most of the stolen cash on strip clubs, restaurants, sports memorabilia and other items before he was arrested in July. Almost $11,000 was seized from his bus, along with some cash Ferguson had in his wallet. Several of the robberies took place in communities on his bus route, prosecutors said.

The stolen cash paid for some purchases for his car, including stereo equipment, as well as some high-priced outings such as the Blue Man Group in Boston, a Charlie Daniels Band concert, and a Mother's Day dinner at an exclusive steakhouse. Prosecutors say he was a big tipper at strip clubs, dropping $2,000 to $3,000 a night. He also bought sports memorabilia and other items.

The Burly Bandit was responsible for a string of heists in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including at Digital CU in Tyngsboro, Mass., on May 5, Pawtucket CU in Warwick, R.I., on May 27, and Rockland FCU in North Attleboro, Mass., on May 27. Sentencing has not been scheduled.

His trademark was wearing a different accessory to conceal his face in each instance. Those disguises have included sunglasses, a wig, a cowboy hat, and, in Darien's case, a yarmulke. Ferguson told law enforcement officials that he used a BB-gun designed to look like a Beretta handgun, as well as a pair of toy guns.

In Maine, police said Ferguson rented a U-Haul truck that he used for an unlikely getaway vehicle before robbing a Bangor Savings Bank branch in Orono. He was arrested the next day thanks to several tips starting with a witness who reported seeing a U-Haul truck near the bank. Two workers at a Days Inn where Ferguson stayed recognized him on the bank's surveillance video, and a U-Haul worker reported seeing Ferguson's truck near the Bangor Savings Bank, officials said.


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