Bank Robber - Photo courtesy of vchal on SHutterstock

A serial bank robber from Palm Springs who federal prosecutors say took great delight in his crimes, yelling “John Dillinger lives!” and “Bikers rule, baby!” during his heists, was sentenced to 19 1/2 years behind bars Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Todd Cannady, 61, pleaded guilty last year to charges of armed bank robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence for robbing 10 banks in Southern California over a two-year period, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During a July 1, 2021, stickup of a Chase Bank branch in Jurupa Valley, Cannady “pressed a black Glock-style 9mm semi-automatic pistol to a teller’s back, and forced her and other tellers to fill a duffle bag with money from the bank — just as he had done throughout his life, during limited periods of non-incarceration,” according to the government’s sentencing papers.

He then left the bank and led police on a high-speed chase, hitting multiple vehicles before crashing.

During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. said it is “hard to imagine crimes that are more serious. The court has seen them, but this ranks in the higher order of seriousness.”

The series of “compulsory” heists took place after Cannady served nearly 22 years in federal prison for the 1992 armed robbery of a bank in Corona, prosecutors said.

Prior to that conviction, Cannady was found guilty in 1982 of armed robbery for robbing nine different people at gunpoint in various stores throughout Los Angeles in a single month. In 1987, he committed his first bank robbery in which he threatened a teller with a firearm.

The defendant’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

From 1982 to 2021, Cannady committed armed robberies whenever he was not incarcerated — and did so “at great economic expense to individuals and institutions and great emotional expense to the tens of victims he traumatized in each robbery and at each bank,” federal prosecutors wrote.

In spite of the harm he caused, Cannady seemingly “took great joy” in his crimes, yelling “Bikers rule, baby!” during one of his many armed bank heists in 1993 and “John Dillinger lives!” during a 2019 robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He continued to commit armed robberies even after obtaining almost $760,000 from holdups during 2019 to 2021, once twice robbing the same Wells Fargo Bank branch in Rancho Mirage, six months apart, court records show.

Cannady’s “enjoyment, predilection, and compulsion” to rob is reflected in the fact that, despite being incarcerated for more than half of the last 40 years, he has managed to rob at least 12 banks, nine individuals and various stores during short periods of freedom.

“Even when incarcerated, over the course of four decades, defendant has consistently shown one thing: when he is not incarcerated — and sometimes even when he is — he will commit violent crimes at a prolific rate,” according to the government. “This history suggests that the only method of specific deterrence and to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant is to remove him from society.”

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