OKLAHOMA CITY – In banks from Utah to Pennsylvania this summer, a middle-aged man with grayish, thinning hair, glasses and a blue polo shirt has been demanding money from frightened tellers and offering the same sad story: He only had months to live.
After his fourth heist, this one in Utah, he earned a nickname, the “Bucket List Bandit,” because the robberies were believed to be the actions of a desperate and dying man.
On Friday, the FBI announced the suspect had been captured during a routine traffic stop Thursday night in the eastern Oklahoma city of Roland. Officers determined Michael Eugene Brewster, 54, of Pensacola, Fla., was driving a stolen SUV that he borrowed from a friend 10 days before the first robbery.
Brewster appeared briefly Friday in U.S. Magistrate Court in Muskogee. He acknowledged being the man sought by the FBI.
According to the FBI, Brewster had crisscrossed the country since June, hitting banks in nine states – including the Pocatello Ireland Bank in Pocatello on July 6 – and telling employees he had only months to live. In some instances, the suspect explained he was suffering from cancer.
During Friday’s hearing, Brewster coughed twice and chuckled once while talking to his lawyer, who declined comment on his health. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Snow said he wasn’t aware of Brewster being terminally ill.