A Bethlehem Township man the FBI called “The Silent Bandit” for the manner in which he robbed six banks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison on Wednesday, according to published reports.
Fawzi Atra, 43, of 2011 14th St., was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following the prison sentence and pay a special assessment and $9,688 in restitution, according to The Morning Call. Atra had previously pleaded guilty to the crimes.
When he was arrested after his sixth heist in Mount Pocono, Atra told police that he was motivated to rob banks because the economy was terrible and he had lost his job.
The robbery spree began on April 3 at the KNBT bank branch inside the Giant supermarket in West Bethlehem.
When that robbery did not net as much money as he hoped, he decided to continue robbing banks and gamble the winnings at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., The Morning Call reported.
The method was similar in each of the robberies, which were all committed inside of supermarket bank branches. Atra would silently hand a teller a note demanding money and stating that two other men in the store with guns would start shooting in five minutes if he did not leave the bank and text them.
In all of the robberies, Atra reportedly uttered a total of just one word: “No,” after a teller offered him candy before she realized that she was facing a robber.