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“Double Hat Bandit” pleads guilty to over a dozen robberies

SALT LAKE CITY – The man dubbed the “Double Hat Bandit” will spend at least 12 years behind bars after pleading guilty to robbing a string of banks all over the country.

Federal Prosecutors say Shayne Carson from New Mexico admitted to 18 robberies in all, including four in Utah, four in Oregon, three in Colorado, two in Iowa, one in Idaho, one in Ohio and four in the Beehive State.

“He agreed to plead guilty to all the ones we know about.  My opinion is that there might be more out there, that we didn’t know about.  But, to this point, who knows?” according to FBI Special Agent Jeremy Fowlke.

Carson got his nickname of “double hat bandit” by wearing a baseball cap, then covering it with a wool beanie.  Fowlke says Carson believed that covering his earlobes would make it more difficult for police to track him down.

“He told us that he had read once, in a study, that the earlobes are just like fingerprints. Everyone’s got a very unique ear,” Fowlke says.

In the end, investigators didn’t need to analyze Carson’s ears to find him.  Fowlke says the bandit was spotted after a robbery in Washington and briefly chased by police.  Officers couldn’t get the license plate number, but, they analyzed security camera footage and were fairly certain Carson’s car had a New Mexico license plate.  This evidence was given to police in New Mexico.

“They basically determined what year, make and model that car was just by looking at it.  They did all kinds of research.  They figured out all of the hundreds of people that this car was possibly registered to in New Mexico,” Fowlke says.

After looking at drivers’ license pictures, officers named Carson as their suspect.  He was tracked down to a hotel in Indiana.

Carson will be sentenced in Salt Lake City in August.  The terms of his plea deal say he’ll serve at least 144 months in prison, but, no more than 180.