Serial bank robber sentenced to 30 years, 6 months in prison

File photo of a jail cell.

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)—A San Francisco man who robbed nine banks after escaping from custody for previous thefts has been sentenced in federal court in San Francisco to 30 years and six months in prison.

Darius Gilbert, 49, was given the prison term on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco. The judge also ordered him to pay $148,000, his total proceeds from the robberies, in restitution to the banks.

Gilbert pleaded guilty before Chhabria in May to five counts of armed bank robbery and three counts of unarmed bank robbery carried out between late March and early June 2015.

The robbed banks included six in San Francisco, one in Antioch and one in San Rafael. He brandished a gun in three of the robberies and a knife in two.

Gilbert also admitted during his plea to robbing a ninth bank in Elk Grove, although that heist was not included in his convictions.

He also pleaded guilty to escape from federal custody, being a felon in possession of a gun and using or possessing a gun during a crime of violence.

Gilbert was previously sentenced in federal court in San Francisco in 2000 to 16 years and six months in prison for two 1999 bank robberies.

He escaped from custody in Dallas on March 26, 2015, while traveling by bus from a federal prison in Louisiana to a halfway house in Oakland.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Candis Mitchell wrote in a sentencing brief that Gilbert suffered an abusive childhood and has been addicted to various drugs since age 13.

She said he robbed the banks to support himself and his drug habit, which at the time of his escape included addiction to methamphetamine, heroin and three prescription drugs.

Prosecutors alleged in an opposing brief that Gilbert was motivated by greed for expensive clothes and cars and was a “violent, dangerous man” who threatened to kill some of the tellers if they did not quickly comply with his demands for cash.

The sentence of more than 30 years chosen by Chhabria was greater than both the 16 year, six-month term urged by the defense and the 24-year, six-month sentence recommended by prosecutors.

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