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| Crime |

"Hothead Bandit" Indicted on 25 Counts Following Alleged Bank-Robbery Spree

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A federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 25-count indictment yesterday against a man dubbed "The Hothead Bandit" by the FBI's over-worked bandit-naming department.

Timothy John Kestle, 55, of Litchfield Park, has been charged with 13 counts of armed bank robbery and 12 counts of possessing or using a firearm during the commission of the bank robberies stemming from a series of robberies, which took place from August 2009 to April of 2010.

According to the federal fuzz, Kestle got the dopey moniker of "Hothead Bandit" because during several of the robberies he wore a hat with orange and red flames outlining the bill.

Kestle got busted on June 7, after Peoria police officer recognized a vehicle -- similar to one used as a getaway car during a bank robbery in April -- parked suspiciously outside of a bank.

The vehicle, a white Dodge Dakota, was featured in previous police bulletins along with a photo of the suspect.

When the officer stopped the truck, he recognized the driver, Kestle, from the bulletin and placed him under arrest.

After Kestle got busted, Peoria police spokesman Mike Tellef told New Times "The Hothead" was responsible for at least three Valley robberies beginning in January.

Since then, the FBI's been able to link Kestle to 13 bank robberies in Glendale, Phoenix, Peoria, Chandler, Litchfield Park, and Goodyear.

"I want to thank the Peoria Police Department, in particular the sergeant who spotted the defendant waiting outside a local bank," U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said in a statement. "The FBI's Violent Crimes/ Bank Robbery Task Force has been extremely successful in bringing bank robbers to justice."

If convicted, Kestle could be lookin' at a lot of time behind bars -- the maximum sentence for armed bank robbery is 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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