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Nerves led to 'Bucket List Bandit' suspect arrest

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 8:23 p.m. CDT
Michael Eugene Brewster is pictured in a booking photo dated Sept. 13. Brewster, a suspected cross-country bank robber who told one teller that he had cancer and "did not care what happens" was arrested in eastern Oklahoma after a traffic stop more than 1,000 miles away from his most recent heist, the FBI said Friday.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The police officer who caught a Florida man suspected of being the "Bucket List Bandit," a bank robber who claimed to be terminally ill during a cross-country crime spree, said Monday that the man seemed extremely nervous after running a stop sign near an eastern Oklahoma casino.

David Goode, the assistant police chief in the small town of Roland, said he quickly realized something was askew when he pulled over an SUV being driven by 54-year-old Michael Eugene Brewster. The license plate didn't match the vehicle, and the diver had an identification card but no driver's license.

"I went up to ask him more questions. He became more and more nervous," Goode told The Associated Press. "A couple more questions, and I asked him again if he had a weapon. He told me he had a loaded .38 in the back seat, and I took him out at gunpoint."

A search of Brewster's pockets uncovered something even more telling, the officer said: wads of cash covered in red dye.

"At that point, I thought it was going to be a bigger deal," Goode said.

The FBI suspects that Brewster robbed 10 banks in nine states beginning in June, and told some bank employees he had only months to live. In some instances, the robber explained he was suffering from cancer.

The first robbery occurred June 21 in Arvada, Colo. Over the next three months, the others occurred in in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah.

He picked up his nickname after a robbery in Roy, Utah, after a bank teller told police that the robber passed her a note demanding money and said, "I have four months to live."

An arrest warrant was issued for Brewster on Thursday after the FBI said a confidential informant gave the agency his name and date of birth following a Sept. 10 heist at a Huntington Bank branch in Erie, Pa.

Surveillance video from a nearby carwash showed an SUV similar to the rental Brewster was accused of taking from an acquaintance in Pensacola on June 11. The same video also showed a red mist emitting from the robber's hands as he exited the bank.

Brewster is being held at the Muskogee County Jail in Oklahoma awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania. His court-appointed attorney, Julia O'Connell, declined to comment on Brewster's arrest.


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