Bank robber sentenced |

Bank robber sentenced

Christina Proctor

It was his first felony conviction, but Sean Peter Hynes jumped into the big time quickly.

The 24-year-old Fort Bragg, Calif., man pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of robbery for the March 16 robbery at the Al Tahoe branch of El Dorado Savings Bank. He was immediately sentenced to the midterm time of three years in a California state prison. It could be just the beginning of Hynes’ time behind bars.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco had indicted Hynes for four counts of unarmed bank robbery in connection with robberies committed in February and March in Mendocino County. If convicted on all four counts, Hynes faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison.

Hynes walked into the El Dorado Savings Bank a half hour after it opened and handed the teller a demand note. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was apprehended less than six hours later when an El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy spotted his car near the South “Y” Center. Witnesses at the bank provided investigators with an accurate description of his vehicle.

Hynes was linked to the robberies in Willits and Ukiah after South Lake Tahoe Police investigators contacted police departments in those areas.

Police Detective Martin Hewlett said each bank robbery followed the same pattern as the South Lake Tahoe incident. The robber entered unarmed, demanded money from a teller in the form of a note, then fled the scene on foot. Witnesses’ descriptions of the robber in each occurrence were similar. Hewlett said that during an interview with Hynes after his arrest he admitted to committing all five bank robberies.

Prior to his conviction Monday, Hynes’ criminal record consisted of four misdemeanor convictions ranging from bad checks to auto theft.

Hewlett said that Hynes was in South Lake Tahoe for a vacation weekend with his girlfriend. They stayed at the Tahoe Seasons Resort.

Hynes allegedly told investigators that his motive for the robbery was a need for money.

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