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Octogenarian bank robber gets 21-year prison sentence for Tucson heist
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Octogenarian bank robber gets 21-year prison sentence for Tucson heist

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An 84-year-old man who robbed a Tucson bank with a BB gun will spend the next 21 years of his life in federal prison.

Robert Francis Krebs, a career criminal who was on probation at the time of the robbery, was sentenced to 262 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps on Tuesday. Krebs was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,385, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona.

Krebs was convicted in federal court in Tucson of armed bank robbery in 2020.

“Defendant’s criminal history extends over 50 years beginning with serving a prison term of three years for committing bank embezzlement in 1966 in Chicago, Illinois,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“The defendant did not appear remorseful for his criminal conduct and admitted he wanted to get caught and go back to the prison system.”

On Jan. 12, 2018, Krebs used a BB gun to rob two bank tellers of more than $8,000 at a Pyramid Federal Credit Union, in the 4400 block of North Oracle Road.

He was arrested the following day at a motel where he had been residing. Krebs has an extensive prior criminal history and was on a term of probation in Florida when he committed this robbery.

Krebs served more than 30 years for a 1981 bank robbery in Florida and was sentenced to three years in prison after the 1966 conviction in Chicago for embezzling $72,000 from a bank where he worked as a teller.

He also served an additional 17 years for theft and armed robbery convictions from Arizona dating to 1980. Krebs was convicted of robbing Tucson banks in 1980 and 1988, according to court records.

Documents said he told authorities he committed the Tucson robbery because his monthly $800 Social Security payment wasn’t enough to live on and that the months before the robbery were the worst in his life.

He said he did extensive surveillance on the bank to determine when there would be female tellers working and said his escape plan was to cross the street to go to the Tucson Mall and retrieve his “wheelchair that he had stashed at the Sears store.”

Prosecutors said that’s exactly what he did, with mall security cameras showing Krebs getting his hidden wheelchair from the store, emerging from a dressing room in different clothes and then “roaming the mall for hours while seated in the wheelchair.”

“Defendant was proud of his criminal history in that he bragged to a motel clerk on several occasions by showing her newspaper clippings of prior offenses which mentioned his name,” prosecutors said in the court document.

Prosecutors said even in his advanced age, Krebs is a danger to the public, has used violence in previous crimes and is a risk of reoffending.

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