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Bank robber Joseph 'Jose' Banks stole $600K

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prison escapee Joseph ''Jose'' Banks is well known to federal authorities in Chicago because of his bizarre courtroom behavior.

He was convicted last week in four hours after jurors saw a video in which he hurdles a bank countertop to get to the vault. He stole $600,000 in two hold-ups, and most of the money was never recovered.

Known as the Second Hand Bandit, Banks, 37, is suspected in a dozen bank robberies. But the FBI couldn't pin them all on him. According to a 2008 affidavit, Banks used several disguises in heists carried out with his cousin. He was the most aggressive of the two, it says, and liked to be the first to enter the building with his handgun drawn. He would often speak with a fake foreign accent.

Banks burned through several lawyers since his arrest four years ago. That's when he started filing his own motions, claiming he was immune from prosecution because he isn't an American citizen, but a "Moorish National from the Republic of Illinois."

"We felt he was growing more and more frustrated over time. The decision to represent himself was not a good one. It was inadvisable...it was a result of his growing frustration in a sense that things were unfair," said former Banks attorney Beau Brindley. "He didn't want to be present, he wanted to sit in the lockup and not sit through the trial. He didn't think he should do that."

Recently, Banks filed a series of rambling, incoherent court motions that were stamped with his thumbprint. When convicted last week, Banks was flanked by extra deputy U.S. marshals because he threatened to leave court. His last words to the judge were, "You'll hear from me."

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