The Crown Royal Bandit will be extremely well aged before he gets a chance to practice his craft again.
Bruce Allen Hughes, 48, of Blairsville, was sentenced Feb. 1 by United States District Judge Richard W. Story to serve 127 years in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to commit the armed robbery of 29 banks over 11 years; five counts of armed bank robbery, six counts of using a firearm during the commission of a violent felony, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Hughes earned the moniker “Crown Royal Bandit” because in his early robberies he directed bank employees to put the cash in a purple Crown Royal cloth bag he provided.
Acting United States attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the sentence, “This defendant victimized unsuspecting customers and employees of dozens of banks over the course of a decade. The sentence effectively and justly ends the reign of terror of the Crown Royal Bandit, leaving him to spend the rest of his days behind bars.”
The prison sentence is to be followed by five years of supervised release, and Hughes was ordered to pay $300,000. Hughes pleaded guilty to the charges Aug. 21, 2009.
According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, Hughes pleaded guilty to charges related to armed bank robberies that occurred between May 7, 1997, and Feb. 21, 2008, in the Northern and Middle districts of Georgia. Hughes, who was also known as “Brian Scott Hughes,” “Bruce Alan Hughes” and “Bruce Allen Hughes,” participated in 29 armed bank robberies, many of which involved the use of a mask and the display of a gun, which was fired during two of the bank robberies. In total, Hughes stole over $300,000 in the robberies.
Hughes was charged in a second superseding indictment in the Northern District of Georgia in June 2009 on two counts of conspiracy to commit armed bank robberies, four counts of armed bank robbery, five counts of use of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Significant assistance in this case was provided by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Banks County Sheriff’s Department, the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney general’s office.