A "star" of the local theater scene in Half Moon Bay who had supposedly given up a life of crime after a previous string of bank robberies in the 80s, suddenly returned to his bank-robbing ways and on Friday a judge sentenced him to 105 years to life under California's three-strikes law. John Alexander, 58, once robbed a doughnut shop in 1979 (he was armed, and caught) and in 1986 he robbed a series of 15 banks without the use of a weapon. This time, after a decade out of prison and living a quiet life, running a handyman business and acting and building sets for the community theater in Half Moon Bay, Alexander had some kind of personality breakdown, possibly induced by drug use, in which he robbed at least 10 banks in multiple counties.
As the Tribune reports, he was convicted of holding up three banks, all with use of notes and with only the threat of weapons -- in one case he told a teller, via note, that he would "blow her away" if she didn't hand over cash -- in Mountain View, Los Gatos and San Jose, netting $550, $2,093 and $4,644, respectively. He has charges pending for ten other separate robberies.
Despite 24 letters of support from friends and relatives, and testimony from Alexander's 27-year-old son who claimed he was acting out of pride and desperation, since his handyman business had declined during the recession, the judge gave Alexander the maximum sentence under Three Strikes. There is the possibility, pending good behavior, that he'll be able to serve out his time at a fire camp.