Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A sentencing hearing originally planned for Monday will now take place Thursday for a bank robber dubbed the “Hills Bandit.”

The hearing for Stephen Richard Bartlett was postponed after U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee canceled her calendar for the day.

Bartlett, 53, pleaded guilty to a series of bank robberies from Laguna Niguel to Santa Barbara and is expected to be sentenced to no more than eight years behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bartlett will also be ordered to pay restitution of nearly $80,000, court papers show.

In most of the robberies, Bartlett walked up to a teller, displayed a handwritten note and demanded currency, specifying that he wanted $100, $50, and $20 bills. He also made threats that he had a gun, but no weapon was seen.

Bartlett was arrested Oct. 2 after a high-speed pursuit that spanned four counties, lasted some 90 minutes and involved multiple police agencies.

He eventually lost control of the pickup truck he was driving on the westbound 210 Freeway just west of the 215 Freeway and crashed alongside the freeway, with the truck rolling onto the driver’s side.

Bartlett crawled out of the passenger side door and surrendered.

Bartlett, whose driver’s license shows an address in Nevada, caused two crashes during the chase, one of them involving a California Highway Patrol vehicle, according to the CHP.

While being chased in Santa Fe Springs, he threw a gun from the vehicle that was recovered. It turned out to be a replica of a semiautomatic pistol, according to police.

The “Hills Bandit” nickname came after two holdups in Laguna Hills last year.

—City News Service

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