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Ponytail bandit sentenced to prison

Morgan Michelle Hoke of Austin has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison for a string of bank robberies across the country that started with the robbery of the Wachovia Bank on Mesa Drive in Austin in May of 2007. She became known as the ‘ponytail bandit’ because of bank surveillance photos showing her wearing a UT Longhorn baseball cap with her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail.
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“She plead guilty to all three bank robberies,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez, who prosecuted the case in Sacramento, California. “She committed one in Texas, one in Washington, and one in California.” In addition to her 3½ year prison term, Hoke will also have to repay the money she stole. “The sentence is a fairly stiff one for someone who is a first-time offender,” said Rodriguez. “So I think the U.S. Attorney’s Office and all concerned citizens can be pleased that a message is sent.”

Hoke was captured by police in Thailand earlier this year after authorities in California received a tip about her identity. “Everybody came together in this one to identify the ‘ponytail bandit’ and get her picture circulated nationally,” Rodriguez said. Hoke’s husband, 26-year-old Stuart Michael Romine, is also suspected of participating in the three robberies with her and in several other bank robberies. He has not been captured by police.
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