Vail bankrobbers get prison sentences
September 23, 2005
DENVER (AP) – Two Australian men whose bumbling robbery of a Vail bank earned them the nicknames “Dumb and Dumber” in the Australian press were sentenced to prison Friday by a federal judge who said an inept bank robbery is still a serious crime.
Anthony Prince, 20, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years and Luke Carroll, 19, was sentenced to five years, and they were ordered to pay combined restitution of $21,657 after pleading guilty to the March robbery of WestStar Bank in Vail.Both men, who had come to the United States last fall to work in the resort town, expressed regret and remorse for their actions and apologized to the two bank tellers who were on duty when they used unloaded BB guns to help them make away with $129,500.”What I did was greedy and selfish but I’m still not sure why I did it,” Prince said as his and Carroll’s parents looked on. “All I can say is I knew better, I was raised better.”
Carroll’s sentence was longer because he threw one of the bank tellers to the floor, causing a minor injury. He said he wishes he could go back to the time just before the robbery with the knowledge he has now of the consequences.”I hope if not now, somehow in the future, you can take into your hearts to forgive me,” he said to the two tellers who were in the courtroom. “I can’t describe how remorseful I am. It’s a life sentence that I’ve imposed on myself.”Carroll and Prince, a New Zealander with permanent Australian residency, both pleaded guilty in June to robbing the WestStar bank with a BB gun and made their escape on a chairlift. Authorities said a teller was injured when she was pushed to the floor, but the men’s lawyers have disputed that allegation. Each faced up to 25 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.The Australian press dubbed them “Dumb and Dumber” after details of the robbery became available.Witnesses said the men, childhood friends from the northern coast of New South Wales, had distinct accents and wore badges similar to ones worn by staff at the ski shop where Prince and Carroll worked. Vail ski resort employees told police Carroll and Prince used their ski passes to board a chair lift about one-quarter mile from the bank within minutes of the robbery.Investigators soon found mug shots of Carroll and Prince, who were arrested in January for allegedly shooting out windows with a paintball gun, and distributed their photos on an FBI flyer.A day after the robbery, the teens drove to Denver International Airport and tried to buy one-way tickets to Mexico with about $1,150 of the stolen cash, authorities said. Told they couldn’t, they opted for round-trip fares.A police officer recognized the teens from the flyer – and from their accents – and arrested them as they tried to pass through airport security.Prince had $4,500 in his shoes and $9,000 in a money belt, and Carroll had $7,600 with him, FBI spokesman Carl Schlaff said.Investigators found $25,000 in a snowboard luggage bag and $3,000 in a pair of snowboard boots, while a backpack with another $26,000 was found in a garbage can in the airport parking garage, Schlaff said.After being arrested, one of the teens tried to flush $800 down the toilet in his holding cell, Schlaff said.Shortly after the robbery, a man who lives near the bank found $1,000 in $1 bills on his property. The teens also tried to mail $6,000 to Australia and bought more than $11,000 worth of jewelry, Schlaff said.About $21,700 of the stolen cash was still missing.Vail, Colorado