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'Polite Bandit' gets 13-year sentence in federal prison

By Sandy Sand     Nov 24, 2009 in Crime
Dubbed the “Polite Bandit,” a former police officer was sentenced to a 13-year plus term in federal prison after being convicted for several bank robberies.
Former Pasadena, California, resident Vincent Cantu, 46, of Whittier, was convicted and sentenced to 13 years, five months in federal prison as the result of a plea bargain for having committed a series of bank heists last year.
Contrary to his reputation as being a Polite Bandit -- because he apologized profusely during his bank robberies -- a least one person came forward said he was anything but polite.
"He was in no way polite," said Rebecca, the operations manager at the Pacific Mercantile Bank in La Habra who came face to face with Cantu. She refused to give her last name.
"The word `polite' is in no way applicable to what you did," she said.
In addressing the court, Cantu said:
"I apologize to all those involved," he said. "I'm forever sorry. I accepted the plea agreement so I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my life in jail."
In passing sentence, Judge Cormac J. Carney recognized Cantu’s history of depression and alcoholism, but said:
"…aggravating factors outweighed those personal problems. "He was a police officer," the judge said. "They need to held to a higher standard ... consequences should be heavier."
The judge noted the nature of his crime, which caused "mental stress" and said it was a factor in his decision.
"He inflicted terror on people," Carney said.
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