Serial bank robber sentenced to 19 years in prison

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - A serial bank robber has been sentenced to 19-1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery.

Samuel Cresante, 45, pleaded guilty on Oct. 26, 2010, to two counts of armed bank robbery and one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Cresante was connected with a dozen bank robberies across the Phoenix-metro between June 2009 and January 2010.

Investigators were able to show that Cresante entered the banks and either brandished a firearm or passed a note demanding money to the tellers.

A few months prior to the first crime, he had just been released from state prison after serving 12-1/2 years for armed robbery.

Authorities said during the robberies, Cresante was sometimes armed and disguised himself by wearing an arm sling, various bandages on his face and even fake blood. He was dubbed the "Band-Aid Bandit."

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, made up of police departments in Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, arrested Cresante on Jan. 15, 2010.