‘Big Hat Bandit’ gets 4 years in bank robbery series

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A man sporting a large straw hat and a restaurant-style apron robbed an East County credit union office Tuesday.

SAN DIEGO — A man who held up tellers at two banks and two credit unions in San Diego County — including three in 11 days — was sentenced Friday to almost four years in prison.

Leroy Callahan, 45, pleaded guilty in December to robbery and attempted robbery charges.

Deputy District Attorney James Koerber said Callahan used a note to rob California Coast Credit Union in La Mesa of $773 last July 11, First Citizens Bank on West Main Street in El Cajon of $836 on July 14, and $2,408 from Navy Federal Credit Union on July 22.

Callahan also tried to rob a teller Sept. 23 at a Wells Fargo bank on Cleveland Street in San Diego, but ran off with no money.

The defendant wore sunglasses and a straw hat or baseball cap during the first two robberies and was dubbed the “Big Hat Bandit.”

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