One of the so-called "High Country Bandits" has pled guilty to armed robbery and other charges related to a six-month bank robbery spree that spanned four states and included two banks in Flagstaff.
As a result of the Oct. 26 plea agreement, Ronald Michael Capito, 52, now faces a likely 15-25 years in prison when he appears at a sentencing hearing in January.
If convicted on all the charges, Capito could have been sentenced to life in prison.
Also as a condition of the plea agreement, Capito will have to pay restitution to all 16 of the banks he was accused of robbing, even though the charges will be dismissed regarding nine of those.
The charges related to both Flagstaff bank robberies will be among those dismissed.
"On February, 24, 2010, (Joel Jay) Glore and I agreed to rob the Sunwest Bank, 822 North Humphreys, Flagstaff, Arizona," Capito admits in the plea agreement. "I drove us to the area of the bank and waited approximately a block and a half away in my vehicle as Glore entered the bank brandishing an airgun. ... I then drove us from the area and we shared the proceeds of the robbery."
Capito, who coached girls basketball for years in the Show Low Unified School District, was alleged to be the mastermind of the crimes. Capito's wife told investigators that he had worked in construction, but had been unemployed since 2009.
Glore and Capito are both listed as residents of Linden, a small community outside of Show Low.
The pair would allegedly rob rural banks at gunpoint and then often flee on all-terrain vehicles. Investigators believed that it was the same man robbing the banks and another man would drive the get-away vehicle.
They were able to catch Capito and Glore in March 2010, after the pair's cell phones gave them away. Federal agents combed through the records of 150,000 phones used to make calls near four of the most remote bank robberies.
Investigators were able to identify two cell phone numbers used prior to each robbery and then requested a court order for the subscriber information on the phones.
One of the phone subscribers owned vehicles that matched the descriptions of those used in the robberies. Glore was also identified by a witness to a robbery in Park City, Utah, after he lowered his sunglasses to see what he was doing.
The FBI said that a gambling addiction helped fuel the crime spree.
A sentencing date has been set for Jan. 30, 2012, in Phoenix.
Eric Betz can be reached at 556-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.