A man accused of robbing banks in four cities, including Athens, was recently sentenced to prison, officials with the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

Garrett Hickey

Garrett Hickey

Garrett Storm Hickey, 29, of Centre, Alabama, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen to five years, four months in prison, with credit for time served, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,200. Hickey was convicted on these charges Oct. 15, 2019, after he pleaded guilty.

The string of armed robberies went unsolved for three years, officials said.

“Diligence by the FBI and our law enforcement partners helped solve these cold case bank robberies,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “This is also an example of the exemplary cooperation by law enforcement across multiple districts to give closure to the victims and employees of the banks involved while bringing this robber to justice.”

Hickey’s last known robbery was July 20, 2016, at First National Bank in Athens. A black man wearing a light-colored button-down shirt, dark blue jeans and a black ball cap with a red bill entered First National Bank at the corner of U.S. 72 and Lindsay Lane at about 2:45 p.m.

After demanding money, Hickey fled on foot. Law enforcement officers from the city and Limestone County, a search dog from Limestone Correctional Facility and the Limestone County Sheriff's Office helicopter searched for the suspect.

The Athens Police Department identified Hickey as the suspect within a few hours of the robbery.

First National Bank robbery

Authorities in Athens are using a helicopter and the prison tracking dogs to try to find the man who robbed First National Bank in Athens in July 2016.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said the incident led his department to beef up security at banks in the city.

“I'm glad he was finally caught and that he's been convicted and sentenced,” the chief said Tuesday. “Hopefully, that will keep him from robbing any other banks.”

According to authorities, Hickey also robbed a bank in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on July 6, 2015, and another in Ringgold, Georgia, on April 19, 2016. He then robbed a bank in Priceville on May 4, 2016. In all three robberies, authorities said, Hickey presented a threatening note and asked for $1,400.

In 2017, Hickey was sentenced to just more than three years in federal prison after a fingerprint linked him to the Murfreesboro robbery. Later, while still serving his initial sentence, a fingerprint identification by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab connected him with the Ringgold robbery. In addition, other evidence, including photos from the bank cameras, linked him to the two Alabama robberies.

In 2019, Hickey was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia, and with the cooperation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama and local district attorneys in the three local venues, he was prosecuted for the one Georgia robbery and two Alabama robberies.

“If not for the determination of the FBI and our state and local partners, Hickey would be close to being released from federal prison on a single bank robbery conviction,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “But because of that collaborative effort, three bank robbery cases in Georgia and Alabama that were virtually closed were re-opened and connected to Hickey. Our partnerships are integral to our mission of protecting the citizens of this country.”

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