'Limping Bandit' pleads guilty

A witness alerted police to Cecil Stephen Haire, who is suspected of being the 'Limping Bandit.'

A man nicknamed "The Limping Bandit" pleaded guilty Monday to robbing 23 banks throughout the Southeast, including banks in Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Summerville.

Cecil Stephen Haire, 52, of Douglas, Ga., will face sentencing at a later date after entering a guilty plea to all 23 counts in federal court in Charleston.

South Carolina U.S. Attorney William Nettles said Haire started robbing banks in three small Georgia towns beginning in June 2006. Over the next three years, he robbed eight more banks in Florida and Alabama and 13 banks in South Carolina.

Haire earned his nickname because many of the bank tellers described a noticeable limp in his walk, Nettles said.

The robbery spree came to an end July 17, after he robbed the National Bank of South Carolina on U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant. Someone followed Haire out of the bank and gave police a description of the vehicle he left in. Police found Haire about 20 minutes later, sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of a retirement home. Officers found the clothing he wore in a nearby trash bin, as well as a BB gun used in the robbery, Nettles said.

Haire faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the 23 counts.

It won't be his first time spent in prison for bank robbery.

He was convicted in Georgia in 1986 on seven counts of armed robbery and one count of bank robbery. He was released on parole in 2006.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alston C. Badger of the Charleston office handled the case.