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Man dubbed ‘Broadway Bandit’ arrested after prison release

NEW YORK (AP) — A dying New Yorker dubbed the “Broadway Bandit” was arrested Tuesday on charges stemming from a bank robbery that occurred only nine days after he walked away from a sentencing hearing for robbing five banks.

Jamie Frierson, 49, of Manhattan, is back in federal custody, charged with robbing a Bronx bank last Wednesday.

William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York’s FBI office, said in a release that Frierson “clearly did not learn his lesson.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman called it a “repeat performance.”

New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill credited the fast arrest to the close bond between the banking community and local, state and federal law enforcement partners.

A criminal complaint in Manhattan federal court said a relative with whom Frierson has been living since his prison release identified him as the individual depicted on bank video footage of the Bronx robbery.

Frierson was convicted by a jury last August for collecting over $10,000 by robbing five banks in less than two weeks a year prior. Authorities labeled him the “Broadway Bandit,” based on where some of his targets were situated.

The bank robbery that led to Frierson’s arrest came nine days after an April 29 sentencing that featured a passionate defense argument for leniency based on Frierson’s need for liver-cancer treatment after receiving a prognosis that he was likely to live only two more years.

“We couldn’t have gotten worse news, frankly, on the eve of sentencing,” his lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Sylvie Levine, told U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres last month. She did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

“I apologize profusely to the tellers as I didn’t mean to scare anyone,” Frierson told the judge then. “If I have to die, I’m just hoping that I can die around my family and not prison.”

Prosecutors requested a substantial sentence, citing a criminal record that included 3 ½ years in prison for a string of robberies, and the judge noted that federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of over 17 years. Prosecutors also cited testimony by bank tellers that they felt frightened for themselves and the public when Frierson handed them notes demanding money and saying he was either armed or had a gun.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aline Flodr said one ran into a back room “in paralyzed panic” while another teller’s mother believes that her daughter’s encounter with Frierson was a precipitating factor in a psychological break she suffered.

Flodr also noted that Frierson committed the five bank robberies less than a month after finishing another prison sentence.

At sentencing, the judge said Frierson’s life expectancy was short and added that the failure of doctors to diagnose his colon cancer for more than a year left her skeptical that he would receive necessary medical care in prison. Frierson received time served for the months he had spent awaiting trial.

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