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Hillsville bank robber gets 12.5 years

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A career bank robber was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison today by a federal judge who said, "He just keeps doing it."

Richard Hawes, 50, of New Castle, was sentenced to 151 months in prison for the August robbery of Grayson National Bank in Hillsville. U.S. District Judge James Turk in Roanoke also ordered Hawes to repay $9,605 he stole in the stickup and $17,000 he still owes from previous robberies.

Hawes blamed the holdup on his bipolar disorder and apologized. He asked the judge for another chance at a law-abiding life.

Turk was unmoved, noting Hawes' career of robberies -- and getting caught.

The Hillsville bank heist was hardly a work of criminal genius. Hawes walked into the bank unarmed, with his shirt up, hat pulled down and wearing sunglasses, said federal public defender Randy Cargill.

"No dye packs, no dye packs," Hawes told the teller, according to Cargill.

The teller filled a bag with money and an exploding red dye packet that blew up during Hawes' getaway. The red-stained money he spent during the days that followed left a trail for law enforcers.