Posted: Jun 28, 2012 2:45 PM by MTN News
MISSOULA- The Bigfork man who has admitted to holding up five banks in western Montana has been sentenced to over 14 years behind bars.
Steve Dee Norred of Bigfork appeared before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy on Thursday and in addition to the prison time, he must pay back over $88,000 after earlier pleading guilty to five counts of bank robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
(photo of Norred from earlier court appearence)
The so-called "bike bandit" admitted to holding up the First Interstate Bank branch in Bigfork on September 24, 2010, the Glacier Bank branch in Lakeside on November 10, 2010, the robbery of the Frist Valley Bank in Seeley Lake on April 5, 2011, the St. Regis branch of Bitterroot Valley Bank on May 31, 2011 as well as the heist that took place on September 28, 2011, when Norred once again robbed Glacier Bank's Lakeside branch.
During the second Lakeside robbery, Norred asked if a customer wanted some money and then placed over $14,000 into a camouflage backpack and departed the bank, but was followed by the customer.
The customer who saw the robbery followed Norred's motorcycle, but eventually lost sight of him. However. a short time later, the customer saw a truck appear from the nearby woods and head north on U.S. Highway 93.
The customer followed the truck and reported the license plate number. Law enforcement eventually pulled over the truck, which Norred was driving, and seized bait bills from the robbery and a firearm in a holster.
Under federal "truth in sentencing" guidelines prosecutors say they expect Norred to serve most of his sentence.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the Mineral County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol all assisted in the investigation.