Donald Keith Giammanco was working as a stock broker in suburban St. Louis has 2 daughters and a wife. As in many modern marriages, the couple divorces and Dad has custody of the two girls. It is 2007, the stock market is not a place to make money and Keith is slipping behind on the private school tuition and house payments. He is talking about his financial woes with his mother and she exclaims, “Well don’t go rob a bank!” Keith leaves her house and muses, “Well that is where the money is.” He goes to the FBI website and studies bank procedures and past bank robberies until he is comfortable enough with his plans to rob his first bank. In November of 2007, he dons glasses and a military style floppy Boonie hat, patiently stands in line, presents an empty envelope and a note demanding the money and threatening that he has a gun. The teller, following FBI suggested procedures, quietly removes the cash from her drawer, places it in the envelope and hands it back. Keith turns and walks to the front door, where he encounters an elderly man entering the bank. He slows down and holds the door open so the old man can enter. He walks quickly and confidently to his car in the back of the bank’s lot and drives away. Nobody in the bank, except the teller knew the bank has just been robbed. He will rob 11 more St. Louis area banks in this manner. He targets mainly the Bank of America and the U.S. Bank, (robbed St. Peters bank twice because it was so easy). On one occasion, he robbed a U.S. Bank and deposited the money in another branch later the same day. On September 18, 2008, Kieth Giammanco robs his 12th and last bank. In that case, the Vice President became aware of the robbery quickly and broke normal bank robbery procedure. He ran outside after robbery and got the license plate of
his car. A patrol officer responding to the scene had been given the car description over the air and he sees Keith driving toward a freeway exit close to the robbery scene. He makes a U-turn and the Boonie Hat bandit is busted. An unfortunate traffic jam contributed to the arrest and end of the Boonie Hat bandit. Keith reveals that after three consecutive bank robberies by the same person, the F.B.I. gives a tricky name to their suspect. This name is usually taken from a repeated identifying characteristic of the robber. The media will pick up on that name. Even though he wore a variety of hats, glasses, clothing combinations and other disguises, in the first two robberies, he wore the military camouflage Boonie Hat.
Keith gets a lawyer and he is advised the government has enough to convict him. He decides to make a plea agreement and admit to all 11 robberies. In exchange, he will receive a 10 year sentence. He pleads guilty in Federal court actually got 76 months and 3 years of probation and was sentenced to pay $106,000 in restitution. Shortly after that the St. Louis county prosecutor files state charges for the exact same crimes he just plead guilty for in Federal court. Keith will take this state case to a jury trial and the jury gave him fifteen years. The judge manipulated the sentences to give him an additional five years
Was he protected by the “no double jeopardy” promise found in the Bill of Rights? Keith explains the concept of “dual sovereignty” and why he can be tried for the same crime twice.
While in prison, Keith gets a job as a tutor working under an outside English teacher named Caroline while in prison. He worked for her to tutor inmates and she liked his writing. Keith describes this encounter as love at first sight. Keith and Caroline will be married in the same prison waiting room where we recorded this interview, one week prior to our November 2, 2017 prison session.
Caroline and Keith collaborated and she wrote his story, Bank Notes: The True Story of the Boonie Hat Bandit. Caroline then wrote Guilty Hearts a book about the damage experience by loved ones of men and women convicts.
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