'Bearded bandit' facing federal grand jury indictment

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PROVIDENCE — The man who allegedly robbed two Barrington banks while wearing a fake beard earlier this year is facing a federal grand jury indictment. On Wednesday, a grand jury returned an eight-count indictment charging Justin L. Worley, 33, with eight counts of bank robbery. Officials charged Mr. Worley, who previously lived in East Providence, with robbing eight financial institutions in Rhode Island between April 16, and Sept. 18. The indictment alleges that Mr. Worley robbed each bank of varying amounts of cash by use of force, violence and intimidation. Mr. Worley gained the nickname "the bearded bandit" because of the dark brown beard he allegedly wore during the incidents. Law enforcement in Barrington, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Seekonk and Warwick Police Departments and the FBI investigated the individual robberies. In Barrington, Mr. Worley reportedly robbed the Bank of America on County Road and later the TD Bank which is located next door. East Providence and Seekonk police arrested Mr. Worley at a motel in Seekonk on Sept. 19. At that time, officials reportedly found a fake beard inside the motel room. L:aw enforcement also seized two vehicles that Mr. Worley reportedly used during the incidents. Mr. Worley is being detained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on charges that he allegedly robbed a bank in Seekonk on Feb. 23. Bank robbery is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison followed by up to 3 years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. An indictment is an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland and Paul F. Daly, Jr. are prosecuting the case.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.