A bank robber once known as "the potbelly bandit" has been sentenced to more than 15 years behind bars for a Sept. 11 holdup in Pleasanton.
Royland Rice, 62, of Oakland, was sentenced yesterday to 15-1/2 years in prison for bank robbery, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
Rice, who was still on federal parole for bank robbery when he held up the Bank of America branch at 6005 Stoneridge Drive had no plea agreement with the government.
He pleaded guilty on Feb. 28, 2013, to the bank robbery charge and confessed to handing the victim teller a note that said, "We know where you live and hand over the money," and to stealing more than $1,700 from the bank.
Rice was captured on video running to and driving a '70s era Ford Ranchero away from the bank robbery. On Sept. 19, 2012, officers from the Pleasanton Police Department arrested Rice.
He was captured while driving on Black Avenue near Via Espada after police spotted a vehicle matching the old brown Ranchero used during the holdup.
Rice was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 15, 2012, and the sentence was handed down by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton. In addition to his prison term, Rice was also sentenced to a three-year period of supervised release.
The threatening note used in the holdup is the same method Rice used in the early 2000s, when he was dubbed "the potbelly bandit," whom police at the time described as "having kind of a beer gut on him," according to a June 13, 2001, article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
He was convicted of robbing more than a dozen banks in San Francisco, Albany, Fremont, San Leandro, Berkeley, Union City, San Lorenzo and San Ramon during a three-month period between April and June 2011.
Rice was arrested for the 2001 robberies by East Bay Regional Park District police officers who found him at Eastshore State Park in Berkeley in a car with an expired registration.
A federal warrant for his arrest had already been issued after a botched June 4, 2001, robbery attempt in Orinda in which a teller pretended she couldn't read the note he passed, which read, "Holdup -- 50s and 100s," according to court records from the 2001 case.
Rice dropped a credit card with his name on it as he fled the bank.
He was also convicted in 1990 for robbing four banks in Berkeley, Richmond and Union City, and was sentenced to serve the maximum, 115 months, in that case. No information on his 2001 conviction was available.