PHOENIX—Francisco Nieblas Rodriguez (D.O.B. 03-15-1988) was sentenced today to 33 years in the Department of Corrections after being found guilty of seven counts of Armed Robbery, two counts of Attempted Armed Robbery, seven counts of Kidnapping and nine counts of Aggravated Assault.
“Anytime an individual commits a robbery with a weapon like this, the potential for violence increases and people are needlessly placed in fear for their lives,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This sentencing clearly communicates our willingness to aggressively prosecute and punish those who place fellow members of our community at risk.”
From about mid-April through the end of December 2016 the defendant, referred to as the “Bearded Bandit” targeted and robbed six different check cashing businesses in Phoenix and Glendale. He would approach a female employee, usually when they were alone at the locations toward the start or close of the business day and would point a gun at them demanding money. Once the defendant had been given all the cash available, he would leave the location before police arrived.
Investigators were able to identify a vehicle likely connected to the robbery suspect and were able to track it to a home in Peoria where they found the defendant leaving the residence. Investigators located a black leather cap under the front passenger seat that matched the one the suspect had worn in all the robberies and they located a gun that was the same color used in the crimes. Additionally, several of the victims were able to identify the defendant in a photo lineup as the man who held them at gun point during the robberies.
When interviewed about the crimes the defendant denied involvement, but remarked that the suspect was handsome like himself.